(Before you go any further, I want to clarify, I am not saying we should never express our concerns, share our thoughts or pass along information. The gist of my concern is the WAY we are doing it. On both sides. There are real injustices that cannot and should not be ignored. On both sides. How that’s handled, may God help us.)
As the election is just around the corner, I offer this plea.
I purposely choose not to share my opinions, dissect the candidates or presume I know stuff I probably don’t know. The spreading of lies and the air of self-righteous rhetoric is just too much. Every article posted and every opinion voiced holds little weight, if any, in my decision of who I am voting for. I will not rely on what “new truth” is revealed or what photograph is being manipulated to convince me that if I vote for THIS person, I am a loser or uniformed or outright adding to the demise of our country.
More than the candidates themselves, I have been sickened at the way both sides have demonized voters. If even half the stuff that is being presented is true about the candidates, a vote for either candidate will make us guilty of ANYTHING bad that happens during the next four years. And it sounds as though it’s going to be bad either way.
So can we just stop it?
There’s a passage in the Bible that has been hitting me like a ton of bricks these last few weeks. It’s my only explanation of what is happening in our culture today. I’m aware my tone could come across self-righteous. My words might be picked apart and criticized, but I do find it hard to believe anyone would think demonizing others for choosing one candidate over another is acceptable. I’ve seen if so much lately and it’s wearisome.
I will try and paint a picture of the emotions that accompany my words:
I am a parent with several children. I love them all. I know some things they don’t know. Simply because of experience. When they were little and they would fight, I would have to mediate and listen and sometimes discipline. In no way would I allow them to demonize one another with their words, hit one another, judge one another to hell or use past transgressions like a sentence of doom over their future. I knew too much as a parent to let them destroy one another like that. I loved each one of them passionately, even the one who might have been the instigator of a particular fight. The truth is, as much as I tried to always be fair and just and wise, I blew it sometimes. I didn’t handle every squabble with perfection. And no parent ever will.
Listening, watching and trying to discern what in the hell is happening in our country right now feels familiar. On a much larger scale, the human race (Ok, not everyone) is fighting for position, power, sympathy, understanding and vindication. Long gone are the days of being able to say, “Just stop it” and expect it to happen.
As my kids got older, lessons I taught over and over, finally took root. They didn’t just grow physically but emotionally and spiritually as well. The way they dealt with conflict began to mature. Because they loved one another, they became one another’s advocates. They began to cheer one another one, pray for one another and when disagreements occurred, they didn’t wash their hands of one another.
I have friends and family who post things I don’t agree with. Maybe never will. I post things my friends and family do not agree with and maybe even laugh at. It really is okay. But I do struggle with posts that belittle others for their beliefs and opinions.
I know we feel justified in doing it because we feel like we have to do our part in saving the planet. We feel if our voice is not heard, well then, we’re a wimp, or we don’t care about people, or world peace or whatever you want to throw in there…because there are a million and one causes.
So, what’s my plea?….
Stop demonizing people who don’t agree with you politically.
We can disagree without placing a rock solid, eternal judgment on someone’s character. On BOTH sides. (Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have consequences when proven guilty) And if you are a Christian, please remember this one story in the Bible. Saul to Paul. I am certain there were other Christians at the time who condemned him to hell for what he was doing. And then there were those who were…
Gosh, I don’t want to condemn people. Yes, make them accountable for their behavior but to sentence them to a future with no hope because they are incapable of being redeemed, I tremble at that thought. It actually incites a nausea feeling. (Or maybe it’s the 2nd cup of coffee I just drank.)
Can we stop doing this? Please. I would never allow my children to do that and guess what, they don’t do it to others today. If they did, mama would call them out…because it’s what mama does. My children know there is not ONE person who isn’t capable of being redeemed.
Can I just say really bad people who get redeemed end up being cultural warriors who expose the lies of deception they formally lived in? It happens frequently.
Shouldn’t that be the focus of our prayers and hope?
Let’s face it, bad behavior gets exposed. Once exposed, there’s no defense. Guilty as charged. The person will either crumble under the weight of God’s mercy and cry out for a new heart…and actually get one…
Will go to their death beds living in denial, shame and with no hope of true freedom. Never coming clean, never taking ownership and never knowing that although people may never trust them again, God will forgive them and given them a new heart filled with peace and hope.
Unlike bad behavior, bad thoughts with cruel motives, judgmental hearts with self-righeousness wrapped around it and seething hatred can be masked. For a time. Unless it’s exposed and repented of, it will be no different than the one who never took ownership of their bad behavior. Sounds harsh huh?
It sounds harsh because we have been sold a lie that God only cares making us do-gooder robots. Think body, soul and spirit with me…Jesus died to give us a new heart (Spiritual re-birth) to transform our soul (What we think, feel and do) and to one day give us new bodies. If we don’t grasp this, we live in a one-dimensional world where life is a short span of time that is filled with pain, sorrow, suffering and a few laughs.
The passage I mentioned earlier and want to close with is found in Acts 28:27-28…Paul quotes Isaiah saying, “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers:
Go to this people and say,
“You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
For the heart of this people has become dull,
And with their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes;
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
And hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.”’
It’s my only explanation of why we can’t see we are destroying one another with vindictiveness, shaming and childish fighting. We were told long ago this happens.
Eyes but can’t see. Ears but can’t hear.
Disagree, share what you do believe, write a song about it, craft a poem but leave demonizing people who disagree with you out of it. Please.