I was recently confined to a hospital room, not once but twice, which made January fly by. And it seems like the “Royal Exit” is all people can talk about... on television, in the hallways and among the hospital staff.
The same people that dropped everything to watch the Royal Wedding are now ready to condemn the regal couple they once admired.
It was a real dream come true. Girl meets boy. Boy reveals he's a Prince. Girl becomes a real-life Princess. Leaving people to think, they has it all. What is there to complain about?
Prince Harry, also known as the Duke of Sussex, hoped he can compromise with the Royal Family allowing him to better balance life with his new wife and child with their Royal duties. Queen Elizabeth II blessed their marriage but striped them of the titles of “Your Royal Highness” and it makes global news.
Now I love the Queen! If you haven’t pieced it together, I was named after two Queens so I am certainly biased to the name. And I’ve heard of “throwing shade” but did the Queen ever so eloquently put on a British hat brimmed big enough to throw more shade than anyone I’ve heard of before. Like seriously, at age 93, the Monarch nearly broke the internet.
So why is this news? People are drawn to the Royals. Period. The glitz and glamour, the crowns and carriages. Right, wrong or indifferent people around the world can’t take their eyes off them. And with their eyes come their opinions.
None of us will ever know the pressure this couple was under. Sure, we’ve seen this family through some ups and downs. Somehow, we feel attached. We seem to find it entertaining.
But the Royal Family is made up of people just like any other. Their tiaras are gorgeous but not without tarnish. Infidelity. Divorce. Tragedy. The Royal Family may live behind the gates but they are not immune from controversy.
How many of us have families similar to this? I've seen too many people written off by their loved ones for a variety of reasons.
I've seen weddings where relatives refused to attend because they don’t agree on the marriage. Men and women shunned for the way the dress. I've seen addictions, firsthand. And others shooed away because of their way of living.
I once worked with a Christian Pastor whose son was openly gay. His upcoming wedding created turmoil. “Do we attend or not?” Sadly, this same Pastor also buried a daughter, very unexpectedly and at a tender age. I am certain he’d rather attend a wedding than a funeral.
Prince Harry’s response to the Queen stated, "We both (He and Duchess Meghan) do everything we can to fly the flag and carry out our roles for this country with pride. Once Meghan and I were married, we were excited, we were hopeful, and we were here to serve. For those reasons, it brings me great sadness that it has come to this."
I can imagine if those were the last words the Duke ever spoke to the Queen, she’d be even more devastated that what she is to see them leave Buckingham Palace. It's sad to see coming from a family that has experienced an unexpected and quick, fatal tragedy. Yet, it seems to have caused a divide.
I can't help but think of a similar story in Scripture. In Luke Chapter 15 Jesus tells the disciples the parable of the prodigal son. Verses 11-24 tell of a man who had two sons, one of which asks for his inheritance early, and leaves. After squandering his property with "reckless living" this same son comes to his senses and decides to return home.
The best part? "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him" (Luke 15:20 ESV). He ran to him! He was reunited with him! "And they began to celebrate" (Luke 15:24 ESV).
The father did not scold him for his way of life. He didn't cast off his son. He embraced him.
Christianity is not the religion of division. It is one of unity. If God is love, and we believe, we should be the most loving people on the face of the earth. Like this example, we need to let people live their lives without judgement. And praise God when their turn to Him.
Somewhere along the way, Christians starting requiring perfection. Especially from those we love.
I've seen people turned away, cut off, and shunned by their families. I've even seen men, women, teens, and children rejected or hurt at church. And that does not fall in line with Christ's teaching.
It is wrong to strong-arm people to conform to one way of living or thinking. We see not even the Queen can do it!! And honestly it is not our job to.
So, for us believers – we need to do better.
Unfortunately, many of us expect more from people than Jesus does.
Mahatma Gandhi infamously stated, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” This is the very reason why so many people are turned off by Christianity.
This needs to stop. This does not make us Christ-like and is certainly not the way to make disciples.
Somewhere we forgot that Christ interacted with tax collectors, murderers, adulterers, prostitutes and other sinners. Not only did He interact with them, He died for them. He was resurrected for them. And He loves them. He loves you. And He loves me.
This is an invitation to stop cutting people off.
Enough with the divide. Christ died so we'd be reunited. Let's listen more. Embrace more. Love more.