After one of the most confusing and unpredictable elections in recent American history most people’s emotions are running high. Social media has been flush with very colorful opinions. I intentionally try and stay out of political posts or conversations but perhaps this is an opportunity worthy of chiming in.
I don’t have a Political Science degree and I do not pretend to be proficient in all things political. I am confident though that I have enough education and research to function as a responsible citizen. I take our constitution and constitutional rights seriously. Ultimately, being an American is not where my true citizenship lies. It is not my most valuable identity.
Hurtful and devaluing words have been the hallmark of this campaign season, and I’m not referring to the candidates, I’m talking about the people of our country. I’ve seen enough hate, expletives, and degrading social media posts to last a lifetime. Why do people see social media as a platform for negativity? I’m pretty sure the original creators of our most popular social media websites and apps intended their creations to create community not to destroy it.
My degree is in Biblical Studies and my identity is in Jesus so I want to address the world around me, including this election, from that perspective. If you don’t share the same conviction on the Bible and Jesus as your Savior perhaps you can still glean something from this. Before we find spend so much energy on spewing our opinions we should contemplate the value of those hearing our message. Some people believe that there are levels of value for different groups of people. I hold firmly to the words of God, “all have sinned, and fallen short of perfection.” Good new! We’re all screwed up! This in itself could be a depressing statement if left alone, but God continues this truth by saying, “AND all are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24)
Here’s what that means: no matter how much you fail, God’s grace will never fail you. His rescue is available. His unconditional love and forgiveness gives you and I value even when we are undeserving. So much of what I’ve read on social media and heard on the news this week has been about demeaning the value of others. Honestly, most of it has been complaining. Shallow, worthless public whining. But this is what happens when we try and center our identity on anything or anyone other than Jesus.
The Cure For The Crap
The only cure for the crap of this world is an identity in Jesus. Jesus alone can take the temporary mess and turn it into eternal magnificence. It doesn’t matter which political party or president you backed, both of them will disappoint you in the end. Staking your happiness or worth in people, let alone politics, is a terrifying roller coaster you don’t want to live on. Finding your worth in what others say will always leave you lost and wounded. God gives grace and love freely. No strings attached. No catch. Just choose it. Accept it. Find your value in what God says about it.
You and I can never fix our broken world let alone our government. Instead of letting your emotions and opinions run wild keep them to yourself. After all, is it really improving the quality of someone’s life? Count to ten if you need to and then turn your focus to valuing others. Be productive instead of destructive. Tim Keller calls this “the freedom of self-forgetfulness”. When you and I forget about living for ourselves we are free to experience the joy of blessing others. John F. Kennedy said it well in a political context when he stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”
The Power of Influence
It saddens me to read of so many A-list celebrities who care more about an agenda than our country. They care more about their opinions than people. Unfortunately, millions of young people care what these celebrities think. Instead of using their platform and influence to draw people to unity, love, and Jesus they say divisive, hurtful and hypocritical things. Don’t follow that example. Use your voice and your influence to draw people towards grace. Government policies or your opinions might affect someone’s behavior but it can never transform their heart. Only grace can change us. That’s what our country needs, that’s what we need – grace.
I love this statement from a book called, “One Way Love” – “When you understand that your significance, security, and identity are all locked in Christ you don’t have to win – you’re free to lose.” – Tullian Tchividjian
I’m willing to lose whatever I need to so that others can win Jesus. Are you willing to “lose” your opinions and leave them behind for the sake of loving others? Are you willing to lose an argument in order to show grace?
The law of God helps us see how messed up we are and then grace swoops in to rescue us from that predicament. Our country already knows how messed up it is, we don’t need to be reminded. We don’t need you to draw our attention to what’s broken, we need someone to draw our attention to grace, God’s grace.
How can you live out this grace now? How can grace define your conversations moving forward? #gracetrumpshate