Swirling National Chaos and the Helper I Need
Many of us are starting off this week feeling like we just left a bar fight that’s spilling out in the street in front of our houses. Things are being said and done that just aren’t right. Sides have been taken, lines have been drawn, threats have been made.
Social media is a war zone.
Ha! If only it was restricted to social media. In fact, people’s actual lives are being turned upside down by some of the changes happening in our country and it’s literally been one week of a new administration. Executive orders, movements, activism, discovering your neighbor has these strong political views that you didn’t realize the extent of until about 4 months ago and now it seems like they are leading a revolt… There’s a lot going on.
Much of it is ugly. And I’m not here to say some of the ugliness isn’t warranted. It’s not comfortable to stand up for what you believe because that means there’s someone you have to stand up to. It’s not pleasant to wrestle with the right way to respond to an injustice. Many have never felt the pull to march or protest or speak up… until now. It seems there’s a demand to say something. And I get that. There’s truth in that.
But in the midst of all the word-slinging and accusations and comments piling up, my thoughtful, dear friend cried out earnestly – Where is the humility?! Where is the pause to think first? The prompting to listen patiently before deciding what you want to say next? Where does our identity as a Christian factor into all of this?
Unlike the Pope I’m not going to make veiled statements about who is and is not a Christian. (Not that I blame him, nor do I necessarily disagree. But I’m not the Pope.) If there is any statement that makes me the most crazy on social media right now it might be random dudes suggesting people “aren’t Christian” if they….. But what I WILL offer is some encouragement to my Christian brothers and sisters. And that encouragement comes back to our grounding in Christ.
You need to read Heidi Goehmann’s piece this morning on the Cycle of Crazypants. She’s right. There is a lot of fear and there is anger and people need to find some self-control. I would add they need to be listening more and slowing down to be sure they are informed. And if necessary, they need to put their phones down and go DO something. But as Christians we believe the greatest factor in our whether our lives generate any good at all, is the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is the helper Christ sent who can calm our fears, deflate our anger, and remind us of the truths about life in Christ.
Life in Christ means I recognize I’m not going to get it all right all the time.
It means I confess my shortcomings and my shortsightedness.
It means I am assured of the love and salvation of my Savior despite the chaos swirling around me. My mind and my eyes seem to be glued to the screens these days, but looking up and seeking out the Words of our Father can reassure me of who is in control; can grant me a peace that passes all understanding; can remind me of the value of the human being on the other side of that angry or misguided post.
Many will read the words of Micah 6:8 and will feel emboldened to seek out justice for those they feel are being slighted. And that might be the right response. But we all need to take the entirety of this verse to heart. Love kindness and mercy. That means be forgiving. Treat others with respect. BE merciful to your neighbors. And the key to doing any of this with one iota of virtue, is walking humbly with our God. In our lives as Christians we are compelled to recognize our shortcomings and sins. When we are daily confessing these failures in the context of God’s merciful salvation, we can then turn to our neighbor and react with mercy and grace.
Walk humbly with your God.
None of us have mastered this and all of us need to approach our national conversations with humility and grace regardless of how wrong it might appear the person is with whom we are interacting. Whether we like it or not the world continues to change and currently it feels like we are in a time of more urgency. Now more than ever we need to cling to the truths of our unchanging, faithful God and His promises to love, save, and guide us through this life and the one to come.
A few links for when we look up from the screen to seek out God’s Word:
A daily devotion from She Reads Truth – get the app. It’s great.
A daily devotion from Lutheran Hour Ministries
Bible Gateway – just go read John if you don’t know what else to do
(Ironic that all these are links so you will still be looking at your screen but you know what I mean. 😉