Like many Americans, I’ve watched this politically charged season on the edge of my seat. I’m not one to speak out much on politics. I make my voice heard in the polls, but outside of that I tend to stay pretty quiet.
However, in the world of social media, no matter how much you try to avoid the political tension, you can’t.
You scroll through social media and see posts on: women’s rights, immigration issues, health care, LGBTQ equality, etc.
And people are MAD.
Now before you decide where I’m headed with this post, let me just say, this is not a commentary on my personal stances on these issues. Although at some point I will most likely speak out, for now, this is simply a response to the noise – to all the fighting, the name calling and the division.
People who support Trump have a right to speak out. Those who do not support him have a right to speak out too. But, what is so hard to watch is the way it is being done.
Especially by those who claim God is on their side…
Now, if you’re reading this and are sharply convinced God is on your side because, the Bible says so! Just hold on a minute. Hang with me.
The Bible says lots of things.
I’m all about reading and reflecting on scripture. It’s wonderful. But, when it’s used to promote/push political views, it morphs into something it wasn’t intended to be. Currently its taken on the shape of something I like to call the gospel of Trump.
Here’s what I mean:
(Someone posts or says something negative about Trump)
People respond with answers like:
“Instead of picking him apart, shouldn’t we be praying for him?” Meaning, they can say their positive opinions of him, but no one else can say their negative opinions against him.
Or, “wouldn’t Jesus want us to honor him?” Of course we should respect the authority of our political leaders. But, this isn’t saying that. It means, please be quiet. Don’t say anything negative or disagree with him.
Or, “have you stopped to think about what Jesus would do?” Ah, the ever familiar Jesus card. I’ll get to that one in a minute.
Or, they list a bunch of Bible verses defending their political opinions. Okay. Lemme just say, what the what?? This one is crazy to me. Because, God didn’t intend the Bible to be used as a tool to shame, silence, control, prove a point or instill fear. It’s entire purpose is to bring hope and life – anything apart from that is undoing the very premise it was created for. So, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, PLEASE put the verses away.
But, I hear the argument, It’s what Jesus would do!!
Sweet friends, do you really know what Jesus would do??
Because I don’t.
I cannot even begin to say what I believe God would think or do in all situations. I just am not that smart. He’s a much bigger God than I am human.
However, I tend to think he’d most likely do the very opposite of what people would think he would do.
After all, Jesus had a reputation for that sort of thing.
He did turn over tables. But, not in a brothel, gay bar or abortion clinic. He turned them over inside the church.
He did extend grace and mercy. To the thief, the prostitute, the criminal, the adulterer, the liar and the cheat. But not so much to the religious leaders who thought they were better than everyone.
He did have harsh words. But not to the vulnerable, the weak, the minority or the outcast. He had harsh words towards the religious ones in power.
He did entrust powerful messages to common people. A good amount were women (just sayin’).
He did focus on “his people” (the Jews). But, quickly extended open arms to foreigners (Gentiles) and offered them equality.
Jesus was ALL about taking whatever institution was in place and turning it completely upside down.
Because, Jesus came to heal hearts.
Hearts always, always, always held the highest value.
Any group that holds the value of an institution (religion, marriage, government, etc) higher than the value of the people inside it, is not reflecting Jesus.
The gospel of Jesus is one where there’s a seat for everyone at the table.
Especially the social outcasts.
It’s a place where he willingly gives his life for everyone.
Even those who disagree with him.
Right now our country is filled with real people, living real lives, who are genuinely afraid. They hold heart-felt beliefs that are just as real to them as yours are to you.
So, what would Jesus do about those who disagree with the conservative evangelical beliefs?
I like to believe he would walk into their homes, eat dinner, drink wine, laugh with and snuggle their babies. I believe he’d listen to their fears; wrap them up in warm arms and hold them tight.
I believe he’d tell them they were beautiful, wonderful and perfectly designed. And, if they were attacked, I believe he’d tell the stone throwers to take a hard look in the mirror before taking another swing.
Maybe you disagree with that gospel. But, anymore, it’s the only gospel I can claim stake to.
So, if you are one of the many people in our country feeling alone, picked on and afraid, I see you. I love you. And, no church, government or religious institution speaks for God. Please hear me. He speaks for himself (quite well, I might add). He loves you. He’s crazy about you.
We may be a country that feels divided, but if we can tap into the divine love source that was flowing through Jesus, we might just have a chance at becoming whole again.