They say to stop whining.
“So much negativity,” they say. “He won, fair and square, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Get over it and show some respect already.”
They offer up challenges on social media, “I’ll bet you can’t go one week and only post positive things.”
“Enough complaining already.”
“Sore losers,” they say.
(Even though so many of the same folks complained ad nauseum for eight years about our current president. Ahem.)
What I Hear When You Say God Is In Control
Yet now it’s time for the “losers” to suck it up and give the new president-elect a chance.
After all, the “winners” say, “Jesus is King.” “It’s in God’s hands now.” “God is in control.”
In a faltering attempt to “take the high road,” people offer platitudes as conversation enders.
I’ve talked about it before. The old “There are no perfect churches. . . “ It might be true, but when someone shrugs their shoulders and says it as a way of dismissing your valid argument, it’s just a conversation ender.
Have I mentioned how I’m so weary of conversation enders?
Instead of addressing the very real problem of electing a mysogenist, racist, alt-right, inexperienced, failure of a businessman/reality TV star to the highest office in the land, they shrug it off as “God is in control.” And they get offended when you aren’t satisfied with their pithy little conversation ender.
When you say “Oh well. It’s over. God is in control,” what I hear is “Shut up already.” I hear how uncomfortable you are at accepting truth that just might implicate you. That maybe you don’t want to admit you had a hand in what’s happened in our government, in our nation. That you’d like me to just be quiet so you can enjoy your turkey and dressing and go Black Friday shopping like nothing ever happened.
The conversation isn’t over
This conversation is far from over.
As long as there is injustice running rampant in the land and especially among those who lead our government, the conversation will not be over.
The current political discourse reminds me of experiences in my own life just a few years ago.
Problems surfaced, right there in my home church, the congregation I called family. There were real issues that needed solving, issues that involved my family and the exclusion of my son. As a mother, I stood up for my child, for his inclusion in the life of our church.
Instead of working toward a solution, they offered me platitudes and conversation-enders. A slightly whitewashed version of telling me to “talk to the hand.”
As often as I tried to interject, they cut me off. Nobody wanted to listen to solutions. They simply wanted the conversation to go away.
And so when I refused to shut up, they shunned me, talked about me behind closed doors. Make no mistake about it, there are people in leadership at this very moment in that very congregation who view me as a thorn, a failure, a lost cause who jumped ship and needs prayer. Lots of prayer, bless her heart.
But I vowed then and there I would not shut up about it, no matter how uncomfortable my words made people. “It makes our church look bad,” some said. It’s always easier to sweep the dirt under the rug, isn’t it? Everything looks shiny and perfect when we don’t shine a light into those dark corners.
Turn the light on and the cockroaches run for cover.
Injustice Is Easy to Ignore
This is why injustice is so easy to ignore. We can turn a blind eye because there are so many other issues and concerns right there in full daylight to capture our attention. Who goes chasing dust-bunnies in the neglected corners when there’s all this mess right in front of us?
Well, as it turns out, there are many of us. They are people like me, sick and tired of injustice, whether it’s injustice toward those who are disabled, or those who are different. Injustice toward those of other religions, races, schools of thought, socioeconomic backgrounds, it doesn’t matter. Injustice is exactly what it implies — it is the absence of justice. It loves dark corners. It loves to hide. It especially loves to take cover behind the shield of pious-sounding statements.
People say, “God is sovereign. He is in control.”
But I also believe that God is a just God. I believe He created all mankind in His image, and any time we deny a person — any person — the right to live as a divinely created being, worthy of love and grace and basic human dignity — then we are participants in injustice. And we grieve the heart of God.
When we hide behind our “Jesus Is King” statements, we’re no better than Pontius Pilate, washing his hands before the crucifixion with a blank stare that says, “Don’t look at me, I didn’t do it!” We turn our backs on the evil in this world and go on about our business. It might make us more comfortable but it’s not okay.
Political Rhetoric Is NOT the Gospel
Our nation is so politically charged at this moment in history. Religion and politics have collided in a fatal crash, and the debris is flying in all directions. We tend as humans to want to look to our politicians, our secular leaders, for solutions. But they fail us every time.
We listen to political rhetoric and convince ourselves that it’s somehow tied to the gospel we claim to love. But it’s not, folks, it’s just not. No matter what that blasted Franklin Graham says.
Jesus told us to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but we can’t help but tie our political causes to our faith, and when we do so, we bind ourselves to injustice and human failure. We water down the gospel to a person’s stance on a single political issue and suddenly the gospel isn’t good news anymore.
Author Phillip Yancey has this to say about the words we throw around so casually:
Jesus said that the truth will set us free and that he came to give life in all its fullness. If it’s not setting you free and enlarging life, then it’s not Jesus’ message. If it doesn’t sound like good news, it’s not the gospel.”
The Gospel Is Always Good News
The gospel is always — always — good news. It is, as the angel proclaimed, good news for all people. It is a redemption story, a gift of grace, and the pouring out of unending, unconditional love beyond all imagination.
It is not a political standpoint. It is not a comfy platitude or a thumb-typed status update to make you feel better about yourself. It is not a Facebook “thankfulness” challenge or a commitment to smile and only make positive statements from now till Christmas.
It. Is. Good. News.
Especially for those who need it most.
On the first day of his public ministry, Jesus stood in the synagogue and spoke these words aloud to all who would hear:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
This is the gospel message.
Good news for the poor, freedom for the captive, sight for the blind, liberty for the oppressed, the immeasurable gift of God’s favor poured out upon us who are starving for it. That gospel message ought to move you to the core, ought to bring you to utter catharsis, to tears of unspeakable joy. It ought to change you.
Instead we’re okay with platitudes? We’re okay with admonishing those who stand up for injustice? We’re okay with telling them to sit down and shut up so we can enjoy our turkey dinner while millions are suffering and oppressed?
Hmmmm. That’s exactly what the Pharisees told Jesus to do. “Quit causing trouble and just shut up already, we’re trying to enjoy our feast.”
Are You Really Okay with Injustice?
Maybe you are okay with it. But I for one am not.
You can gripe about me all you want. You can squirm in your seat and wish I would just shut up already. You can call me names and insult me. You can criticize me, call me negative, say I’m a sore loser. You can even shake your head at my “liberalism” and talk about how much I need prayer since I’ve apparently gone off the deep end.
Go ahead. I’ve heard it all before. If you know me in real life, you know my heart. Hopefully if you’ve read enough of my blog, you at least have a small inkling of what makes me tick. I’ve sure tried to make it plain in this little space.
I’m nothing if I’m not a warrior for justice. I fight with this keyboard and I will not be silent.
- I will follow my Lord’s example.
- I will walk in His path, carrying my cross, and shaking the dust off my feet when I’m rejected.
- I will proclaim good news, even when it makes people uncomfortable.
- I will call out injustice when I see it, just as my Savior did.
- I will stand for the oppressed and offer the downtrodden and the marginalized my hospitality and my hand.
- I will love the unlovable, by the strength of the Holy Spirit who has called me to love even my enemies.
So be forewarned.
This is my voice. I will use it.
Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving,