The world sure has seemed exponentially scarier lately, hasn’t it? Maybe because it is, maybe because the media makes us believe it is, or maybe because we have multiple platforms to perpetuate it all.
Regardless of the reason, I’ve seen a lot of rhetoric lately from non-Christians about God not answering prayers, or how this is, as the Mayans predicted, the end of the world as we know it – war, genocide, abuse, and people turning on one another. It’s an easy parallel to draw – all this suffering – where’s your God in all this? And it got me thinking.
I think part of the problem in America with politics and religion, specifically Christianity in this example, is that people have a tendency to put their country and their politics before their religious beliefs. They may claim otherwise, but their actions tell a different story.
When you profess to be a Christian who loves your neighbors, but also a liberal or conservative, who makes/posts snide remarks about the other party at every possible turn, aren’t you just further creating the divide rather than trying to bridge the gap? And when did our pride in our country and our political agenda become more important than our pride and trust in God and His people? That’s what really gets me the most. For instance, legal immigration – building walls and what not. I get it (kind of), from a country standpoint, but not from a Christian one. You think God cares about our borders? Do you not believe He created the whole world and all of the people living in it? You think He sees people suffering from war and poverty and gives us a pass for not letting them in because they haven’t followed all the proper legalities to do so for this country? Because they’re trying to survive? To keep their families together? I just can’t wrap my head around it.
Living in Oklahoma, the majority of people I know claim to be Christians – or at least fall somewhere on the spectrum of believing in God. And yet, a quick scroll through my Facebook feed reveals an alarming amount of memes, articles, videos and exchanges perpetuating hate. “#Blacklivesmatter/#ALLlivesmatter . . . #neverhillary/ #dumptrump . . . #prayfor(insertname)/#yourprayersarentworking”
Basically, if there’s a side to choose, we’re choosing a side, and then we’re arguing about it relentlessly. And for what? Is it doing us any good? Honestly. It’s exhausting. Aren’t you all tired of it? Or is it just me?
One of our readings in church last Sunday has been echoing around in my brain all week and I cannot stop thinking about what a game changer it is. One line, specifically, really just rattled my thinking.
Colossians 1:27 – It was God’s purpose to reveal to them how rich is the glory of this mystery among the gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Non-Christians may ask where God is in all this, but I would argue that we are not waiting on God to stop the madness. He is waiting on us. We are His hope for the world. He already made the ultimate sacrifice, and now He lives in each of us, and it is our jobs to spread His love, His grace, His hope, His glory to one another. And we can’t do that by constantly making people feel lesser simply because we disagree with them, or because they live outside our borders (physically or metaphorically).
You may think sharing a simple meme is funny… “oh, my liberal/conservative/black/white/blue/gay/straight/KanyeWestfan/TaylorSwiftfan friends are going to love this hilarious picture – I’m going to get so many likes.” But because you’re a Christian, and honestly, because you’re human, I challenge you to think bigger and better. Maybe don’t post it. Maybe instead of likely pushing yet another person further away, you resist the urge. Just stop and think before you share what you do. Stand up for what you believe in, yes, but don’t break others down to build yourself up. Instead of being quick to choose a side, be quick to ask questions, gain perspective, seek compromise. Try to find common ground with the people you don’t think you have any with, instead of only rallying around those who think exactly like you.
It won’t be easy – we’re passionate about things for a reason – we all surely believe we know what’s best to make the world a better place or we wouldn’t think and feel so strongly about the things we do. I’m not saying it’s wrong to have an opinion – it’s more than okay to disagree on things. But there’s a constructive way to handle it, and I’m certain that vicious comments, hateful images and social media rants are not the appropriate ways to come together on a united front, working toward love and moving away from hate. Work toward solutions. Stop picking fights and arguing for the sake of arguing. Start finding ways to share hope instead of hate. It is Christ IN YOU, in me, in each of us, that is the hope of glory for this broken world.