I Hate to Tell You Jesus Wasn’t Into Politics

The political climate here in the United States this year is uncomfortable on a good day. We are so polarized and family members don’t even want to speak to each other based on beliefs. That makes me very sad. What prompted this post though is people bringing Jesus into it. Y’all, Jesus was not a politician. He hung out with a few tax collectors, but that was as far as it went.

This week I read through all the words of Jesus that we have on record. Do you know what He spoke about? Not politics. He talked about love, faith, forgiveness, mercy, and humility. He talked about how a person, not a government, should act. On both sides of the spectrum, we tend to throw around the idea of Jesus and what He would say or do. We aim it at the other side instead of at ourselves. We act like Jesus would line up with our beliefs and condemn the other side. The truth is Jesus would not be a Democrat or a Republican. He knew that human political systems are flawed and stayed away. When people tried to trip Jesus up, He answered and pointed them to God.

When asked if it is right to pay taxes, Jesus answered, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Matthew 22:21) He didn’t give a long and drawn out response about taxes but told them to pay it and also give back to God.

When Jesus was condemned and about to be crucified for no reason, Pilate asked Him if He realized he (Pilate) had power over Him. Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” (John 19:11) Wow. He didn’t start a fight but pointed Pilate to God, even in His darkest moments.

Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus go off on a tangent and shout, “The government should be doing this! It shouldn’t be doing that!” He focused on what each individual can control-their own actions. No, I am not saying that Jesus would think our government is too big or involved, but I do think He would agree that we let the arguing distract and discourage us. We get lulled into thinking the country should be helping the less fortunate, when in reality it is up to us. We can each do more than we are. We can give more time and money to causes. We can reach out to those who need us and be paying attention to those needs instead of assuming the government should do it.

Jesus was born to be the Savior of the world, but He didn’t come to be in charge. He came to serve and to be a leader of servants instead of the leader of a nation or an army. If we want to be more like Jesus, can we please stop talking about it, and start serving alongside Him?

Linking with Holley Gerth

Your Will be Done

 

 

OK God, here is what I know. I know You love me more than I can ever understand. I know that You are good. You are in control. You are God and I am not. Your will be done.

I may get distracted by the noise of politics and Facebook friends’ opinion. None of that means anything, in light of Your glory. The world feels out of control because it is. You are the One I can hold onto. Nothing else matters. Your will be done.

You are going to do what is best. It may not feel like the best at the time, but it is. In fact, sometimes it feel like the end, but it isn’t. (Unless You come back, in which case, PLEASE come!) Whatever happens, Your will be done.

Worrying does nothing more than undermine my faith. I refuse to let worry and fear of the future paralyze me. I will keep going forward, one day at a time. Your will be done.

No matter who wins the election, You are on the throne. Chaos and confusion are no match for You, my Mighty King! Your will be done.

You are never more than a prayer away from me. You are so close and I feel Your presence. I trust You. Your will be done.

We have pushed You away and made a mess. No matter what we have done and how we have disappointed You, You are always ready to come back to us. Your love is immense and enduring. Your will be done.

I pray we make the right decision today even though I don’t know what that means. You know what we need so I will rest in You. Your will be done.

Linking with Holley Gerth

 

 

An End to Shouting Matches

What happens when we put rules above people? We get what we have now. There is no agreement and no love lost. We just end up telling others how to live, or really, how NOT to live. They don’t see anything but hate behind our eyes. Whether we mean to or not, we show them that Jesus won’t love them.

Not everyone I know is a Christian. The rules in the Bible are there for Christians, so why would I try to force everyone I know to follow them? If I blast certain activities or ideas, people would probably write me off. “Oh there she goes again. She is so hateful.”

On the other hand, when I am kind to people and put my money where my mouth is, others take me seriously. They see that I am not just some religious nut, but that I am a believer in Jesus. They ask me for advice or prayer. They know I am not there to be their judge and jury.

If we really want to be rule followers, let’s start with the biggest rule that Jesus gave us: to love Him and love others. That is what we are missing in the world. If we want to attract others to God, we have to reach out and help or even just listen to people. Sure, we should be following God’s rules, but why should we assume that nonbelievers will? When they see us quietly living our lives for God, while we are giving and serving, it has much more of an impact than telling them what to do.

They say that kids do what you do and not what you say and that is true of anyone. I tell my kids that I care the most about the kind of person they are and less about the grades they get. I want them to reach out to the left out kid and be friends with everyone. But if they don’t see this behavior from me, why would they take me seriously? ┬áIt is the same with people around us: they will more likely follow the behavior we model for them.

What I am really saying is that just loudly disagreeing with someone will not change their mind. What will have a chance at changing their mind is when I find ways to help the problems I am passionate about. Instead of getting angry about abortion, maybe I can foster or adopt a child. If that is not doable, I can help someone who does foster or adopt. Instead of getting up in arms about immigration, I can help with an English as a Second Language class and assist those who are asking for help. We need solutions, not shouting matches.

This applies to so many areas of our lives and people are always watching how we speak and act. I want people to see me live humbly, seek justice, love mercy, and show compassion. I want to be who I ask my kids to be, and do so quietly.

Linking with Holley Gerth

A Dose of Election Reality

Here is a little secret: after the election next month, we won’t all be happy. I know, I know. Shocker. Here is another thing people don’t seem to realize: the president of the United States isn’t in control of everything. Crazy, huh? Well, I decided to think of some things for all of us to do instead of wringing our hands. (Or perhaps while we wring our hands?)

If we aren’t happy with how the government spends the country’s money, let’s spend ours the way we think it should be spent. Let’s lead by example. Let’s pay our own bills, save some, and give the rest.

Do you think the U.S. should only help those who need it here in the states after the hurricane? Then donate to the flood victims on the east coast. Give clothes, household items, and money to them. Do you think we should be helping Haiti, the poorest of the poor? Then you should donate to Samaritan’s Purse and Food for the Poor. If you agree with both sides, find a way to help people here and in Haiti.

Are you worried about race relations? Get involved in your community. Reach out to people of a different race than you. Have real conversations about people’s experiences and let them be honest. If it is not the same as yours, don’t judge them.

Do you think we have lost kindness? Be that kindness you miss. Smile and make eye contact. Be polite and maybe hold a door open for a stranger. Do a random act of kindness.

Are you concerned by the amount of people in need? Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Be a Big Brother or Big Sister. Visit elderly people or someone else you know who might be lonely. Maybe they don’t need the government as much as they need you.

Is there an issue that you are passionate about? Whoever the next president is, you can make change there. Abortion, gun control, women’s rights, immigrants. Get out there and help. There are so many organizations that need volunteers.

For the love of America, don’t berate someone who is voting for someone different than you are. This country only works when we allow each other to be different and truly embrace those differences. We don’t have to agree but we do have to respect other opinions.

If you are truly scared about the direction of this country, don’t let that fear paralyze you or make you indifferent. Let it guide you and motivate you. Figure out where you fit in and help. Roll up your sleeves and get to work bettering the country. Do what you can and remember that it will all work out.

Last but certainly not least, get out there and vote on election day! Honor those who have sacrificed so much for us to have that right, and let the nation know your opinion. We are counting on YOU!

 

Linking with Holley Gerth

Paul’s Words for Election Years

The book of Titus may have been written 2,000 years ago, but I think a few verses were snuck in for 2016. Election years are rough, y’all. It is easy to get caught up in all the negativity and self-righteousness.

In Titus 3, Paul warns: “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” Now do you see why I keep my mouth shut when it comes to politics? We all know how bad things are without all the slander that goes on. I would rather keep my two ears open and my one mouth shut than to say something I can’t take back.

You know what you really won’t catch me doing? I won’t be talking badly about the president in front of kids, especially my own kids. Whoever is in that office is our authority and it isn’t up to us to pick and choose which authority we respect. I may not always agree with choices and words, but I respect anyone who wants to take on that job. You couldn’t pay me enough to be criticized by half the country and for my family to be scrutinized that much. And can we lay off the accusations of playing too much golf? Every president seems to play a lot of it. They are human and need rest too. Yes, we should hold them to high standards, but let’s make the standards achievable. My girls, like all kids, need to learn to respect any authority put over them. They will follow our lead, so let’s show them how *ahem* mature we are.

Peaceable, considerate, and gentle. Those are difficult to be toward those we are closest to, let alone in a political discussion. I believe we are much more persuasive (and sane sounding) when we behave in a peaceful manner. Passion will still be heard and people won’t tune us out immediately. How about instead of tearing down opponents, we bring up the good points of who we like? What a novel idea! Restraining our tongues is one of the hardest things to do, but it is worth it. We won’t lose friends or the respect and admiration of our peers.

There you have it: Paul’s guide to the 2016 election. If we can accomplish these behaviors, I believe we will see we have more common ground with opponents than we thought. We also might keep our friends! Let’s stay kind and peaceful and see what a difference it will make.

We can get through this together!

Today is my first monthly guest post over at Starla Jimenez’s blog. Check it out!

Linking with Holley Gerth