My fellow Americans,
Between social media, television, streaming services, newspaper front pages and just about anywhere else, we are being inundated with swarms of controversial issues on a daily basis. We get to see all manner of inciteful events happening all around our country, and the world, in real time. It's exhausting and I can't help but feel it is largely by design. If you watch closely, you'll find almost all of these events are followed with a call to action, usually in the form of a monetary contribution of some type. Politicians, celebrities and corporations immediately capitalize on every natural disaster, accident, terrorist attack or social unrest by feigning worry and resolve and telling you what link to click to empty your bank account and make you feel like youre doing something meaningful.
Now, I'm certainly not saying there's anything wrong with giving a platform to the plight of suffering people (or animals, ecosystems, etc.) in order to exact change. And I'm definitely all for donating to a cause that is near and dear to your heart, however, the incessant movie reel of hot button issues is not only exhausting but can even be desensitizing and ultimately yield the opposite results than what one is trying to accomplish.
It is also dividing us in ways never before seen in the history of this country (and we had a revolution AND a civil war!). We're seeing brother turn against brother, neighbor against neighbor. Parents and grandparents unable or unwilling to hug their kids. Churches expelling congregants and pastors without the discernment to protect and lead their sheep. I've been shocked, disappointed and disgusted by so many people in the last 5+ years, and it gets worse everyday. People are getting more hard-hearted and losing their grip on reality. They just want to be in step with cultural trends that support their worldview. We see it on both sides of the aisle although its exponentially more prevalent and violent amongst the liberal left fundamentalists.
Because of this, it's getting harder to share the truth in love.
None of this though comes as a surprise. Jesus briefed us on all of these things as "the beginning of sorrows" and what we can expect when we stand for righteousness according to His namesake (see Matthew Chapters 10 and 24 and Paul as well in his letter to the Romans, Chapter 1:18-32). Jesus also warned of the many false teachers and false prophets at the coming of this age, that some of them will even be able to perform great wonders and miracles and will try to deceive the masses by claiming to actually be the second coming of Christ. But we know when Jesus comes again there will be no ambiguity. All will see Him.
Truthfully, I have been struggling lately with the desire to share the truth in love. I have always had strong beliefs and stay on top of current events. I am vocal on issues that matter to me and open to dialogue and debate. Here's the problem: I tend to be a relatively blunt person, especially as I get older. I see most issues as black and white and no reason to waste anyones time beating around the bush or sugarcoating a simple reality. This has not made me a popular person. Add to this that historically and by nature I am actually very much a people-pleaser. I go to great lengths to do what I believe is right, show people they matter to me and have great value to God, to bridge gaps, offer solutions and comfort however and whenever I can. It's my great dichotomy and exhausts me more than anyone could ever tell. All of that being said, I am concerned lately with what God expects of me in this tumultuos time. How do you share truth and the saving gospel of Jesus with those who are disinterested, who think their views are in line with Jesus' or worse, those who mock Him and scream blasphemies against our Great God? I want to pull a Peter in the garden moment almost daily as I watch people defy, tempt and disgrace the Holy One.
But I am immediately reminded of Jesus' rebuke of Peter in that moment and how He healed Malchus on site and gave him an ear to hear (literally).
Both Matthew Chapter 10 and 24 keep coming to mind as I wrestle with this issue. Matthew 24:12 says, "because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will grow cold.” There are several different commentaries on what this verse means exactly, but I feel this. As we watch violence, and selfishness and all manner of evil that accompany these abound, both in the life and hearts of people we once called friends AND as they watch us seemingly rally to strip them of their freedom to do as they wish (however depraved) without consequence, there is much love lost between us. They don't see righteousness and our stand for it as defending and upholding truth and desiring to protect them from physical, emotional and spiritual degradation and death. The enemy has done an excellent job at spinning a universe where good is called evil and evil good. These people reeeeee'ing over the incredible overturning of Roe v. Wade, the ones rallying to support the infiltration of sexual depravity into the school curriculums of children, advocating for gender confusion and grooming children who's minds are in their most formative stages...these people genuinely believe they're the good guys.
So what do we do? In Matthew chapter 10 verse 14, Jesus says, "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet." I take this to mean, share the truth and the gospel of Jesus with those who will listen. They may not accept it right away or change their ways, but they are willing to hear. Those who are unwilling to even hear from you at all, shake it off and keep it moving.
When my husband and I were talking about this he pointed out how Jesus never really stayed in one place very long. He would preach and teach and crowds would follow and encompass Him. He was unbothered by those who werent interested and left when He was unwelcome. (See these scriptures for at least 8 times, people sought to destroy Jesus because they were mad at something He did or said) We should follow His example in this way also and be sure we are giving place for Holy Spirit to guide us on when and what words to speak and when to hold our peace.
It is also of the utmost importance that we endeavor to live a life full of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) that is indicative of a walk with God. People are looking for something real, something that can be taught and repeated with certainty. If we aren't practicing what we preach...man, that undermines it all. If this life is not real to us, if we aren't grabbing hold of the promises of God and trusting Him to be who He says He is, if we aren't doing our best to live blamelessly and to daily present our bodies as a living sacrifice , how can we expect others to think they can or even want to try?? We're just a "ringing gong or clanging cymbal" (1 Corinthians 13:1).
My man Peter said it best:
"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities and continue to grow in them, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
-2 Peter 1:3-8
Let's not be ineffective, and waste our or anyone else's time being a clanging cymbal. Walk closely with God, live a life led by the Spirit so you can lead by example and tell anyone who will listen how they too can experience the love, healing, power and fullness of our Great God. Don't try to fit in, or strive for the approval or acceptance of this world. If there's anyone who doesn't have ears to hear, shake the dust from your feet and keep on rolling to the next place God calls you to. The harvest is plentiful. See you out there.