Can I just say that I thank God for our current president?
Yikes, well then, I’ll just say it anyway, and hope that you can’t find me at the Starbucks where I’m currently typing.
Alright, allow me to clarify that inflammatory statement.
It’s been a pretty rough six months for me. I’ve had to helplessly watch as the precious name of my Savior has been drug through the mud of politics and used in a number of ways that I’ve found horrifying.
I’ve had spirited arguments (they all started as “discussions”) with Christian peers and family members. Some of those people defended Trump vehemently and others, Hilary. Some blasted Obama for his appearances on late night shows, others applauded it. I’ve heard Christians say things like, “I don’t really care what Trump says, at least he’ll fix the economy.”
It’s funny, though, I didn’t once hear anyone argue for Christ.
I never once had someone stop me in the middle of one of my emotionally charged points about character or integrity and say, “You know what I love the most about Jesus?” or “This morning when I was pouring my heart out to Christ, I just had this overwhelming sense of his peace. Isn’t he wonderful?”
You see, we seem to think that there is some magical power that comes from knowing everything. We’ve been trained that knowledge is power but what power has it given us?
More worry? More stress? More fear?
“Oh, I’m in touch with all of the big issues, so I won’t be surprised by anything that the government does!”
“Did you see the post about…?”
I have a sneaking suspicion that if we checked our Bible for truth as often as we checked our phones, we’d be putting Spurgeon to shame with our knowledge of God’s word. But instead, we’ve settled for arguing over pebbles and pieces of broken glass. We are content to destroy our relationships with our friends and relatives for the sake of being right about a politician that we will never meet. We’ve forgotten that our main call as Christians is to be like him and to love those who are closest to us.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another,” Jesus said (John 13:34).
If the world will know that we are Christians by our love, then they certainly know that we aren’t Christians by our current lack of love (John 13:35).
One might say, “That’s why we have to protest and to stand together against someone who isn’t loving! We can’t just let this happen! We are called to hate evil!”
But aren’t we just doing that thing that most 21st century Christians love to do?
“What do we love to do?”
We love to draw lines in the sand against things that we don’t personally struggle with.
“I’ve never struggled with a single homosexual thought in my life, so those homosexuals are all evil, look what it says right here in my Bible, ‘the men gave up natural relations,’ Romans 1:27!”
“Trump has closed the borders, that’s not what Jesus would do!”
True, both true.
Do you feel like I do when you quote a piece of scripture and use it in an argument to be right? Do you feel that small hit of adrenaline as you vindicate yourself and convince yourself that somewhere in the Bible there is a verse that calls us to be right or tells us that God needs to be defended by us?
You do realize that we close our own personal “borders” every single day, don’t you? Every time we drive past someone holding a sign on the street or covered in newspapers as they lay on a park bench, and don’t walk up to them and invite them into our homes, we are closing our own borders. Those are people we are called to love. They are our neighbors, i.e. the people who are closest to us.
Try it! My wife and I haven’t been strangled in our sleep, yet, and we’ve been blessed by the people who have stayed over. If everyone who went to church, opened the borders of their homes to the needy people around them, then we’d see a culture that could stand on a soapbox and say, “We are currently living this out, and we want to live it out more by taking in people from Syria! Let’s do this!”
Also, put down the homosexual stones until you’ve put to death every lustful thought that crashes into your mind when you look at other women (or men) every single day. I’ve heard horrifying statistics about pornography usage among people who go to church buildings. I’ve lived with that evil addiction. Do you think that God is pleased with your perverse and detestable thoughts, but somehow hates theirs more?
People, listen to me. Pray more! Spend more time with God! Read more Bible, but don’t read it like I did for so many years: opening your Bibles like boxes of bullets and then loading clips of truth in your mind so that you can kill the first person who disagrees with you.
Don’t. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather believe in a big God and not a big ego? You’re a Christian? Awesome, praise God for that. But you can’t be dominated by the Spirit of God and striving to bring all thoughts, actions, words, and motives under his word, and also mostly- Red, White, and Blue. You can’t. You’re either of this world and seeking to be comfortable in it, or you’re not of this world and you are longing to live in the city of your King.
Yes, I am thankful for our president, and I offers prayers for him every day, because I’m supposed to (1 Timothy 2:1&2). I’m thankful that he’s stirring things up so much that I hear unprecedented whispers of people who are starting to doubt that Jesus was a republican, or a democrat, for that matter. I haven’t picked up a sign and gone out to march, yet, because I need more time to love my neighbors. As long as verbal abuse echoes across the neighborhood, drug deals happen while I trim the grass, and bullets rip through the windows of sleeping families, I’ve got a lot of praying and loving to do. Also, my wife hasn’t been feeling very loved lately. That is something that I can change, and it’s a command from God that I simply must put above protesting injustice (Ephesians 5:25-33).
Until next time, lose your life!