The past week – or rather, the past year culminating in the past week – has felt like a whirlwind…sometimes more like a downward spiral where it feels harder and harder to catch my breath.
I’ve been watching the news, reading updates, taking in what my friends and those close to me have to say and trying to absorb it all…trying to take it in and to figure out what exactly I should do with everything I’m taking in. I’ve tried to hold off on getting “too” political, or upsetting the wrong group and have honestly just struggled with keeping my head on straight.
I’m guessing this sounds pretty familiar to you. In fact, I’m guessing you’re feeling the same way.
I’ve seen hurtful things on both sides of the political spectrum. I’ve read mistruths coming from all sides concerning the “others.” I’ve seen insults hailed and lines firmly drawn in the sand.
I’ve watched Christians be accused – sometimes, unfortunately more often than not – of being hypocrites. Of showing love only when it’s convenient for them. I’ve seen friends who grew up in the church do 180’s and turn away because of it. I’ve had friends told me they can’t pray anymore because what they’re seeing in action doesn’t match what they feel the church is supposed to be. I’ve seen people outside of Christianity share that it’s those of us who claim to be Christ-followers that are doing the most damage.
I’ve seen hurt. I’ve seen pain. I’ve seen terror…and it doesn’t really feel like there’s an end in sight right now.
I’ve also taken things personally. I’ve cried. I’ve held my family a little closer than normal and I’ve prayed for direction. I’ve prayed for a way to be a healer, someone who can listen to those who are hurting…those who are scared…those who feel lost or abandoned, and to be someone who makes a difference.
To stop the spinning…I’ve spent a lot of time in scripture and in prayer, begging for discernment and a path to move forward.
Then it started coming together.
It’s not an answer. It doesn’t replace the need for reaching out to politicians and making our voices heard. It doesn’t fix the very real pain and fear those around us are feeling. But…it’s a start.
Here’s the thing. The world back in Roman times was a pretty tumultuous place to live in. Laws changed daily, Christians were given power and respected then persecuted and nailed to crosses. No one knew who to trust, where to turn. It was easy to let fear being a controlling factor.
But…the church grew even during the worst times of persecution. Right now, it feels like the outrage, the fear is just as real…but so many are turning away.
What’s the difference?
The difference is authenticity. I’m not here to accuse anyone of being “fake,” but, I think it’s time that we all work together to try to right our path before it’s too late. It’s time we go back to New Testament-style Christianity.
It’s time to pull off the labels that turn people away, to stop using our words altogether…because right now, they’re just causing more hurt.
It’s time to stop saying we should “love” everyone while batting people away and keeping those who are “different” at arms length.
It’s time to practice being “pro-all-life,” not just “pro-birth.” To come alongside those who feel like they’re out of options, or who have made decisions they very well might be hurting from. To think before we slew hurt and to pray before we act.
It’s time to open our homes, our arms and our hearts. To listen to those who seem to be on the other side of whatever political spectrum we can claim to fall on. To support those who are afraid, who don’t know what their future looks like because of the craze that has seemed to overtake our country and our world.
It’s time to show our support. To show in real-life-ways that we believe in helping the less fortunate, the refugees, those who can’t stand for themselves.
It’s time to reach out to our lawmakers, to show our support and be a loud and booming voice. To donate to causes that HELP others. To become a political force that leads to action.
It’s time to pray for those in power instead of fixating on the helpless feeling we might have at the pit of our stomachs.
I’m not here to lecture you on the time you spend in prayer, the choices you’ve made in life or what path you may be walking. I am here to say it’s time to turn around…to stop speaking words without action. To stop being the reason that those who need Christ’s love the most are turned off and ready to jump on our words (sometimes because they deserve being jumped on).
If you are a Christian…you have to believe the whole story. You can’t pick and choose the applications that seem easiest for you, or easiest to swallow. I believe authentic Christianity is black and white…right now too many are falling into “gray” areas that do nothing but turn people off.
Guys…we are called to love. We are called to share that love with others. Our words…they’re not going to be what brings others together or changes hearts and lives. Our actions…the way we reflect the love that we have been given without deserving it in the least…that’s where it’s got to start.
Who can you reach out to today? How can you use the gifts you’ve been given to make a difference? How can you help someone today?
The early church exploded because God’s love was so real. It wasn’t something the apostles and early believers spoke of then trampled on with the actions. It was real…it was authentic…it brought people together. Can we bring it back?
Take the time to examine your own heart, your own bias’s, your own motivations. I’ve been doing it a lot this week…and the things that have shown up haven’t always been pleasant. But, until we get on our knees and ask for a true soul-searching and revealing…then get up off our knees and take what we find to the world, we aren’t going to make the difference the world needs.
We can’t cower in corners, we can’t spend our time debating in forums that lead to hurt, not change. We have to start from square one…to act.
We’re called to love, to support those who are oppressed and to live according to REAL biblical standards. How are you measuring up? Let’s commit to being real, to taking the stereotypes that are out there and breaking through them, breaking through fear and negativity in the process.
It all starts now…it starts with us.