Today we stand on a difficult precipice in the United States.
With the dawn of 2015 now a half-a-month behind us, much of the hope, promise, and enthusiasm that naturally comes with a change-of-calendar is fading away in the melee of media-driven hype, political banter, and irrational fear. In many cases, it is Christian Faith that is being used as a highly influential tool of persuasion—for the good and the ill—when it comes to getting people to take “our” side on the issue of the day.
What’s a Christian to do?
In Mark 3:25 Jesus speaks the often quoted words, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Interestingly, he was speaking in response to allegations that he, himself, was evil and thus using evil to cast out evil in the guise of good.
Without comparing Jesus Christ to any human leader or governmental entity, it is noteworthy to at least draw a comparison to some of the rhetoric used in Washington DC. Generally, the other side is depicted in harsh, cruel, degrading, and even outright evil connotations.
President Obama is a deluded socialist (a.k.a. evil enemy of democracy).
John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are tyrannical fascists (a.k.a. evil enemies of democracy).
Interestingly, if we take the implications of Jesus Christ in Mark 3:25 seriously, it is possibly also true that there is more at risk than political correctness.
If President Obama proves that he is right and the Republicans are wrong, America will lose.
If Mitch McConnel and John Boehner prove that they are right and that President Obama is wrong, America will lose.
Social media makes it even worse.
It does not take long on Facebook, Twitter, or similarly popular social media sites to highlight extremist rhetoric “proving” how right and wrong the clearly defined sides are. The implications are powerful! One had better be on your side or they are just as evil as those frighteningly destructive forces that are out to destroy our way of life. If we disagree, you are not merely wrong, you are evil and thus part of the problem.
In the meantime:
The economy lumbers along. Some get very rich. Some fall deeper into poverty. Some live paycheck to paycheck.
People cultured in violence use deadly force to destroy others in fear, rage, or a lust for power. Some may wear a hoodie and others may wear a badge—human lives on both sides of the law suffer. Blood continues to flow.
Terrorists continue to cling to fear-driven models of violence intended to bring some form of self-serving redemption and retributive violence continues to fuel the fires of hate.
Some cry for peace through force, others peace through surrender. Some decry the tyranny of power while others decry the tyranny of weakness. Violence continues to escalate.
And what will ultimately change?
Hopefully, we will!
The time for that change is now!
The government is not the problem
The media is not the problem
Immigrants are not the problem
Terrorists are not the problem
It is far too easy to blame the problem on factors, policies, presidents and politicians over which you and I truly have no control.
“They” are not the problem.
I am the problem. You are the problem. Together We are the problem.
As long as we continue to show love of God and Country by spouting off hatred and disparagement toward other Americans simply because we see the national issues differently, we are the problem. As long as we are hell-bent on undermining our national leadership, we are the problem. As long as we are determined to “take back our country” from Americans who have just as much right to live here just because they belong to another political party, we are the problem. As long as we are determined to force partisan control over seeking the common good, we are the problem. As long as we treat legitimate differences of opinion as battlegrounds in a war of dominance and control, we are the problem. As long as we are determined to demean the intelligence, degrade the humanity, and undercut the validity of others over political issues, we are the problem.
Galatians 6:7 is very clear that we will reap that which we sow. For many years now, the American people have been sowing intolerance, hatred, insults, mistrust, and outright hatred toward people and politics that differ from our own. We are the problem and we have been for a very long time.
In the name of God, Stop being the problem.
Instead of shouting the other side down, try listening and learning.
Instead of professing how ignorant they are, try understanding why they believe as they do.
Instead of taking up verbal (or worse yet, physical) arms to defend what you know is right and destroy those ideas you know are wrong, try affirming the humanity of others.
Instead of calling on the Name of God to justify your hatred of everything that you are so convinced God wants you to hate, remember that God’s ways are much bigger than your ways and God’s love is much broader than you may realize.
Instead of self-rigorously flaunting that you didn’t vote for the leader that you hate, try working to empower our elected leaders for success for the benefit of the nation!
Instead of decrying the failures of somebody else's religious perspective, focus on humbly perfecting the relevance of your own religious authenticity.
Truly, we stand on a precipice of failure as a nation.
If we fail, it will not be the Obama Administration that brings over the brink, no matter how much you may wish to believe otherwise.
If we fail, it will not be the Republicans that bring us over the brink, no matter how much you may wish to believe otherwise.
If we fail, it will not be ISIS, Al-Qaida, or some other radical religious faction bent on hate and violence that brings us over the brink, no matter how much you may wish to believe otherwise.
If we fail, it will be because good, honest, patriotic Christian Americans chose hate, fear, division, insults, dehumanization, and control over love, understanding, and grace.
The time is now!
How willing are you to be a part of the change?
As for me, I am choosing the path God’s love. I ask you to please join me.