Saturday, January 28, 2017

Just Thinking..... About Elections, Politics, Divisions and Real Love

 It’s been an interesting few months hasn’t it? I have tried my best to avoid the mindless political speak that I am constantly bombarded with these days. I have friends who span the political spectrum from the pretty far right all the way to the pretty far left. I like it that way. It does get crazy sometimes though.

 I remain clear, to all my “righties” and “lefties” what I believe and I try to leave it at that. Since my core belief is that hope for our country and world is in Christ and not in politics, I try to steer clear of political arguments. However, there is just this teeny-weeny little thing I want to point out to all of my Christian brothers and sisters and also my very non-Christian friends as well.

 But first, some background.

On Election Day all of my friends on the left of the spectrum were simply glowing with over confidence. The election was over before the voting even started. When the results started to pour in they became apoplectic. The election was stolen, there was fraud, the Russians did it, and on and on. That has continued to be the posture of most. The protests of inauguration day and the woman’s march only succeeded in stoking the rage and further proving to most of America that those who so adamantly profess tolerance and love can also be some of the most intolerant and hateful people around. (I’m really sorry, but it’s true)

These days my twitter, facebook, etc. timelines, as well as multiple personal interactions are a constant barrage of hatred toward Trump, the republicans, the stupid American idiots….. You get the point. I don’t say this to stoke further division, I simply want to say that if you are on that side of the political aisle, it may be helpful to look at yourselves and find out why you lost. Not only have you lost the presidency, but you have lost 100’s of federal and state legislature positions, governorships and so on. It has been going on for years. The more you push, hate and divide the more you lose. I’m just sayin’….. Let’s move on shall we?

In the last few days though, I have noticed a shift in the anger. Oh don’t get me wrong, they still hate Trump and every other person who chooses not to bow down to their intimidation, but now I notice all the hate being thrown at the Christians. My question is why? Rhetorical, I already know the answer.

Just today, I have seen cartoons of overweight, hateful Christian women beating Syrian children with Bibles, I have seen posts mocking Christians as the stupid white guys who have all the privilege in the world and want nothing more than to take everyone else’s rights away. (Who knew that every Christian is a white guy? That will come as a surprise to a lot of my friends and… Hey wait a minute; I thought it was angry women beating children with Bibles. I’m confused) I have seen posts mocking the pro-life community for having the unmitigated gall to say that murdering children in the womb is a bad thing. My favorite post today at least, is the “America has become a theocracy” angle. Donald Trump??? A Theocracy??? (Pardon me while I clean up the orange juice I just spit out laughing) I pray for President Trump but I think we’re a couple minutes out from a theocracy. In the end, as I have come to understand, the Christians are the single biggest problem in the world. If they could get rid of us I’m sure everything would be perfect.

At times I begin to get discouraged. I think to myself, “Man I must be surrounded by a bunch of hateful, hayseed idiots. Maybe I should turn my back on Christianity.” But then!!! I get punched in the face by reality!

You see, I am surrounded by Christians on a daily basis. REAL CHRISTIANS! Not the buffoonish caricatures that are being pushed by those who don’t like us. You know what I see? I see folks who have little to no money sacrificing what they do have so they can buy food to help feed a homeless person. I see people working their tails off to create a place where food and clothes can be stored in order to feed and clothe those who need it. (Excuse me a moment… Just got a text…..Ahh yes it is from a lady in my church who, on her day off, is trying to organize the food recently donated to give away in the “food room” that some other church members have been trying to finish for two weeks….such deplorables)

Anyway, I see people who work 40 hour a week jobs and then in their “off” time, they minister in prisons and work to help people get out of abusive, negative life-killing situations. I see people who sacrifice tirelessly to help people find freedom from alcohol, drugs and whatever other addiction they may be caught up in. I see people every day who take seriously the admonition of Jesus that the greatest commandment is to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. Do you know their names? No you don’t! Why? Because they do not care if you know their names, they only care that you find help and the love of God. And guess what? Keep hating them and they will still try to help you when you need it. Weird huh?

 Here’s some real truth. Love is not shown by sitting in front of a computer all day long mindlessly retweeting everyone else’s thoughts. Love is not in the #resistance or the #revolution or whatever the meaningfully meaningless hashtag is today. Love is shown when you get out from behind your computer screen and actually help someone. I understand it though. It is much simpler and conscience easing to sit behind a monitor and take shots at people in the name of love and tolerance than it is to actually get out and love people where they are. You can agree or disagree with building a wall on the border, but hundreds of thousands have already built a wall between themselves and the real needs in our country. That wall is their computer screen. Keep on posting and you won’t have to see the real needs. It may make you feel better but, in the end, 1000 tweets do not feed, clothe or help ANYONE!

 I’m not actually moved by any of this though, because I have known since I was young that the world would hate those who follow Christ. It may actually be beneficial. As long as folks are hidden behind their hashtags, they won’t be in our way as we try our best to help others and proclaim the love of God. My thanks for helping us win the culture war.

No it doesn’t bother me that people who don’t know any better dislike me or my Christian family. What bothers me most is when my Christian family gets wrapped up in the back and forth. When Nehemiah was rebuilding Jerusalem, his enemies mocked him and did their best to intimidate him. They sent a message and told him to stop doing what he was doing and to come talk to them. Paraphrasing his words, the response was “I’m doing a great work for God; I don’t have time to come and talk to you.” We must realize that our job is to share love and truth. If that is rejected, so be it. However, don’t stop doing the “great work” God has called you to. Share the gospel, Love the unlovable, free the captives, and be like Jesus! In Acts 10:38 it says, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Church family, this is what we need to do. Just keep “doing good,” speaking healing, and proclaiming  the love of God. Don’t get caught up in foolish arguments. It’s a waste of precious time.

In the end, I see that much of the anger is coming because our enemy, our real enemy, (Not people) knows that his facade of fake love and fake tolerance is crumbling in the face of the real love that is being shown by the real church. There are crazies, fakes and frauds who hate and shame the name of Christ, but they are not us. We are those who are willing to lay it all down to love God and love others and we are succeeding. In the end those who love in the name of Christ will be shown to have had the truth all along. Just love. You will most likely continue to be hated. Jesus told us what to do with that. Love those who hate you and pray for those who persecute you. Show them all what love really looks like. In the end Love really will win!

Lastly, it’s time to start bridging some of the gaps. What I know is that the perception many have of Christianity is not the reality. I also know that every ugly thing said about the non-Christian community is not true either. If there is anyone who wants to do something to actually try and help people let me know. We, as well as many churches and groups in the area could use the help. Christian or not, turn your computer off and open your eyes. The opportunities are all around you.

With nothing but love to you all