Timothy, you belong to God, so keep away from all these evil things. Try your best to please God and to be like him. Be faithful, loving, dependable, and gentle. Fight a good fight for the faith and claim eternal life. God offered it to you when you clearly told about your faith, while so many people listened. Now I ask you to make a promise. Make it in the presence of God, who gives life to all, and in the presence of Jesus Christ, who openly told Pontius Pilate about his faith. Promise to obey completely and fully all that you have been told until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 1 Timothy 6:11-14 (CEV)
Last night, like millions of other Americans, I sat and watched the “Presidential” debate. I don’t like publicly entering into the malai of politics, but I feel compelled today to speak. I feel compelled to speak because it seems that the people running for the most prestigious office in our land are bringing out the very worst in the American people.
On the one hand you have someone spouting forth a rhetoric of hate and bigotry and nativism that goes against everything we as Americans claim to hold dear.
On the other hand you have someone who is so mired in corruption and self-gain and personal ambition there is no clear sense of truth.
People (and I have been one of them) who claim to be following Jesus are echoing and sharing rhetoric that is mean, divisive, prejudiced and inflammatory all in the name of party politics. The thing is, if we (and I’m including myself here) are truly following Jesus, there should be no room in our souls for such thoughts and beliefs.
The debates last night were a powerful reminder for me that, as Jesus girl, I am called to be better than this. And so are you.
We have allowed the extreme polarization of our two-party political system define our faith when, in reality, it should be the exact opposite. It is our faith in and relationship with Jesus Christ that should define and shape all of our other beliefs.
I have always felt that God transcends politics. I think, generally, God’s politics are vastly different than our current Red and Blue guiding principles. God is interested in
There are many different ways to bring about these things on both sides of the American political aisle. I have Christian friends who are conservative and Christian friends who are liberal and, crazily enough, we often find that we want the very same thing. We want a world where God’s love shines through the darkness.
The conversation isn’t about who’s right or who’s wrong. Rather, the conversation is about what we, as Jesus followers, can do to better show God’s love. And filling the airwaves with hate-mongering is not a viable option.
Look at the instructions Paul gives to Timothy about engaging in ministry:
- be faithful
- be loving
- be dependable
- be gentle
And, above all else, Paul encourages Timothy to fully and completely obey all of the commands he has been taught through Jesus Christ.
In short, Paul is reminding Timothy that he is called to better things than pride, conceit, slander, divisiveness, quarrelsomeness and unkindness. (See 1 Timothy 6:2-10)
As Jesus followers, we need to change the nature of our political conversations. We need to show that we are faithful to God, loving toward others, dependable and gentle.
This week, I am going to take a step back from the side show that has become our “Presidential” race. Rather than engaging the candidates, I am going to prayerfully seek out opportunities to engage the issues. And I will work to speak in ways that are gentle and kind.
I invite you to join me in an effort to reframe the conversation. Let’s put aside hate, malice and slander to embrace a language of love, kindness and compassion.
Blessings and Peace,