August 18, 2017

A Plea for Christian Americans

Christian Americans, the world is watching us.

Our countrymen —  our neighbors — are watching to see how we will respond to the unprecedented election of such a controversial figure and the fear and hatred that is running rampant throughout our nation right now.

Whether you voted for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or someone else — now is the time to prove our Christian values to those around us. Now is the time when we must show our obedience to God’s command to love our neighbors and do good to all. Now is the time for us to reach out with respect and humility, with kindness and grace, toward all men and women — no matter what our political beliefs or backgrounds.

A Plea for Christian Americans - Ephesians 4:1-2

I am a conservative* — but I cannot stand Trump’s attitude of hatred toward men and women who are made in the image of God, and have grave concerns about seeing a man of his character leading from the Oval Office. While I respect the office of President and will refuse to speak evil of those who lead us, I pray fervently that God would turn his heart from these foolish, hurtful attitudes and words. I also pray that he will surround himself with wiser, gentler advisers who will keep his attitude and rhetoric in line… but meanwhile, my heart goes out to all who are facing this change in fear.

We don’t all have to agree on policies or amendments, we don’t even have to like those who believe differently — that’s part of the privilege of living in a free country — but there is no call to hate those we dislike or disagree with.

There is no call for cruelty or hate crimes. All men and women are made in the image of God, and all life is sacred. Those who are truly pro-life should be acting accordingly.

There is no call for violent rioting either. Those who are reacting that way right now are simply multiplying the fear and anger they feel inside, causing it to spread exponentially throughout our nation.

Both sides need to step back, refocus, and treat those on the “other side” with humility and love. Both need to respect the lives of those they disagree with… and Christians above all.

Christian Americans have the opportunity right now to live out Christ’s love in a more potent way than ever before! We have the opportunity right now to prove what the Gospel truly means for mankind.

Now, like never before in our lifetimes, we have the opportunity to show our neighbors, our country, and even our world what true Christianity looks like. We don’t need to prove a point, or get defensive, or live up to someone else’s expectations. We need to live as Christ lived on the earth: never wavering in His stand for truth, yet treating all men and women with love and courtesy.

A Plea for Christian Americans - Titus 3:1-2

My heart breaks for the division in my country right now, but it’s not going to improve until Christian Americans start living like they truly care about building our country rather than tearing it down. We won’t make a difference for good — or for God — until we get our own hearts right and start living like Christ in our homes and in our communities.

That doesn’t mean we ignore critical issues or paint smiles on our faces until things blow over. It means we live out truth and love, one interaction at a time.

We stand for righteousness and strive after holiness in our own lives, one day at a time. We build others up and point the way to Christ in our communication with others, one relationship at a time.

Consider Christ’s ministry on earth — I’m thinking especially of His meeting with the Samaritan woman. The Gospel of John tells us straight out that the Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. And the woman was clearly practicing habitual sin (even the time she chose to refill her water jugs was proof that she was looked on as an outcast of society), a living symbol of everything God hates. Most Jews of that time — even many Samaritans of higher standing in the community — would have ignored her, looked the other way, or even openly scorned her.

But Christ took the opportunity to reach out to her with both truth and love.

His words left no question about the righteous standards He was proclaiming; He spoke truth to her as He called her out for her adulterous relationships and instructed her how to worship God. He shared the Gospel, pure and simple. Yet His manner in relating to her clearly showed compassion and grace; He took time to converse with and even offer His greatest gift (eternal life) to a belittled, adulterous woman of an enemy region.

Either of those without the other would have been worthless. Had He spoken truth to her without compassion, she would have scorned His words and labelled Him a Pharisee. Had He merely offered a friendly face and a pleasant sentiment, she would perhaps have been encouraged in the moment, but would have returned home feeling even emptier with only the memory of a stranger’s smile.

I like how one author put it: “Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.” Both truth and love have eternal implications. Neither one can be ignored.

Christian Americans, the eyes of the world are upon you. How will you respond?

 

*Disclaimer: I am a conservative, but I did not vote for Trump in this election. So I feel like I have the freedom to share these concerns without anyone pointing fingers back at me. I didn’t make that choice easily or carelessly; after many hours of struggling in prayer, I came to the decision that I could not support him and still maintain my Christian integrity. Please note, I am not saying it was wrong for others to vote for him — it’s just the choice I believe God was calling me to make at this time.