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

As God Sees

Several weeks ago, I started praying that I would see people as God sees them. I would say it in my mind like a mantra. “Let me see people the way You see them.” Honestly, I was hoping for a cool story I could write about. Look! This situation was different because I asked that! Yay, God!

Since the idea has been running through my mind, it has seeped in the crevices. Where I may not have had compassion, I am more willing to see that person’s side. In place of judging them, I ache for them. For the choices they made. For the path they took that led them here. And, most of all, I hurt for the state of their heart.

There has not been an a-ha! moment of enlightenment over a single occurrence. No light bulb went off in a situation where I thought, “Hey, cool, maybe that is what Jesus would have done.” It is more like there has been a subtle shift going on in me. There is an understanding being built in my heart. Isn’t that better anyways? I would prefer a changed heart to a one time deal that I forget about.

Don’t get me wrong: I am still laughing at the silly or asinine things people say that I don’t agree with, instead of thinking through their view. I haven’t stopped judging those who are different quite yet. Judgments happen so fast that it takes a lifetime of training to stop. But I think I am on the right path.

From now on, I want to keep that prayer going. It is my reminder that there is a huge difference between how God our creator sees people and how I see them. With time and practice, that gap should get smaller. My compassion should grow and I should look deeper. My judgments will hopefully diminish as well as my attempts to brush the person away. Wounded, scared, angry, sad: whatever reason they are lashing out, I want to really see.

We can all use a sincere prayer like this: to have Jesus’ heart. He would prefer us crying with someone to us laughing at them. He wants us to remember that we are made in His image and so are they. Jesus would do anything or give anything to help them, and so should we.

Is this your prayer too?

Linking with Holley Gerth

Listen and Love

The world makes me so sad these days. All over the internet and social media, people are tearing down anyone different than them. I am not going to share my opinions on the media firestorms that are happening, because that won’t help anyone.

All I can do is listen and love.

That is the problem with the internet. It is words. There is no heart behind it. There are no hugs. And to me, the biggest problem is there is no eye contact. We can tear each other down with a few words. We can spew anger at someone for their actions without knowing their story. We don’t know what made them do something and if it was a mistake.

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

Yeah, those were Jesus’ words, not mine. What happened to that mentality? When did we start thinking brutality and hatred are the correct ways to go?

How do we correct this? I am glad you asked. If only the government would ask my opinion. Ahem.

I have been thinking about this all weekend. My heart is so heavy over all I see. We have stripped away people’s humanity and only see a name. The only way to correct this is pretty radical. Are you ready?

We talk face to face. Crazy, I know. We sit with people who are different than us and share our stories. We look people in the eyes and listen to their story. We don’t condemn their decisions, but instead show compassion. We think about if it were us in their shoes and how hard it would be to go through that. Maybe we would have done something different, but we don’t know that.

The only way this works is if the people we are talking to come from a different life or have different beliefs. If everyone we know thinks like us and agrees with us, we have a sad life. There is so much in the world-so much to admire and learn from. If we assume our answers are the only right ones, we may be wrong. Diversity is beautiful.

My wish is that we could gather in small groups, maybe five people total. We would sit in a circle and talk. Talk about life and society and choices we make. We hash out different beliefs and why we feel the way we do. We walk away with a new perspective and a deeper respect for those who look different, talk different, or think different than we do. We keep doing this until the first thing we think to do is not jump all over someone in hate, but to rally around them in love.

All of us have feelings as well as scars from old wounds. I would rather be the band-aid than the knife.

How about you?

Linking with Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart

WWJB

Where would Jesus be?

This question won’t leave me. If Jesus were on earth right now, where would He go? The answer wouldn’t be my church, as awesome as it is. He wouldn’t be at yours either. Who would we find Him with? Not other Christians. He wouldn’t construct a Christian bubble and never venture outside of it.

Does this haunt you? It should.

I want to learn from Jesus when He told the pharisees, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17) Jesus had a core group of Christian friends, but He was always out in the world. He was gentle and kind, and He pointed people to God. He looked them in the eye and treated them with dignity instead of condemnation. Jesus did not join them in destructive activities, but He did not shy away from associating with them. He was judged for it, but He knew men judging Him meant nothing compared with pleasing His Father.

It isn’t that I am not around non believers. I am. But I don’t choose to hang out with them as often as I should. I don’t try to share my faith with them, at least not more than once. I don’t try to show them God’s love the way I am called.

I tend to feel more comfortable around people older than me, not moms my age or people who need someone to guide them. I like the wisdom I obtain, but I forget that someone needs wisdom from me. Even when I don’t think I have much wisdom, I can offer them what they need. I can be a friend. Not just smile and small talk, but I can find out what is going on in their lives. I can show them the peace and joy that God puts in my heart.

This is a challenge to me and anyone willing: think about where Jesus would be and who He would be with. Go there. Really see them. Be a friend.

Linking with the Saturday Soiree!