Nike, President Trump, and Your Gay Barista
I'm what some people would call "an emotional person."
I often cry at a good movie, tv, book, when someone says something meaningful, or when writing something impactful for someone. When I pass a dead animal on the side of the road, I have to look away before it affects my whole day. When my sister sends me a video of my nephew saying he misses me, I feel the tears in my soul.
I've always been this way. It's just how I was made. I know it. I own it.
When I was about 8 years old, I watched with tears rolling down my face as a man could barely afford a meal from White Castle. Around 12, I ran out of the room weeping when my dad had animal planet on too long, and I watched a momma hippo wail over her drowned baby. When I was 15 or so, I cried for an abusive man on a tv show because he himself had grown up abused. In the same vein, somewhere around 23, I stood in our prayer room at Destiny Church and prayed on the microphone for the terrorists that were beheading Christians in Egypt, not that they would be killed, but that they would be saved.
I've been laughed at. I've been told to stop crying, to be stronger. I've been proverbially patted on the head with the "isn't that cute" look.
The point is that this past week, I've been feeling quite a bit. It's maddening to feel so emotional at times, like there's something wrong with me. I had to call my mom to express the weight of the emotions about "nothing" that seemed to come from "nowhere." I felt better after I talked to her but knew there had to be some reason.
There's a lot going on in the United States right now. There's an ungodly amount of division and hatred. I've seen people on every side of an argument more willing to defend their point than to remember the most fundamental attribute we try to teach little children: kindness. People outside of this country are laughing and standing in amazement as the most powerful nation in the world crumbles from the inside out because of disagreement. I've been brought to my knees both in tears and prayer. I've burned with anger watching the same people who triumph "equality" and "tolerance" tear others down with sentences like, "No one likes you." I've felt. A lot.
But, that's not a bad thing.
Because unlike what so many have thought or said... It's what makes me strong. Strong enough to stand between enemies. Strong enough to love the ones others won't. Strong enough to share what needs to be shared, and say what needs to be said. Just like Jesus. I feel because He does. I'm emotional because He is. He thought we were important enough to do something as silly and illogical to sacrifice Himself. You cannot make a decision like that without feeling. His motivation was, is, and will always be love. He had His teachings and His sermons. He was also able to stand between a sinner on the ground, and a sinner holding a rock without demeaning either of them.
So, here's my question today.
Which one are you?
Are you the sinner on the ground, the sinner with the rock, or standing in between, finding a way for both?
Because I'm seeing a lot of stones. A lot of opinions. A lot of judgements. A lot of things that won't ever matter in the end. I guarantee you that God is a lot more interested in what you do with your stone than who is president of a country He's going to rule anyway. He's a lot more interested in how you treat your neighbor than who takes a knee when every knee will bow to Him anyway.
I'm not trying to make light of current events. I'm not trying to say don't have a response. I'm just trying to shift perspective. Because when your eyes are on Who they're supposed to be, your response to the current events will be radically different.
It will sound something like this, "Father, forgive them. For they know not what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)
Matthew 10:16-20 says, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, don't worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you."
What a hard line to walk. Wise as a serpent but still harmless as a dove. "Hey, don't worry when you're delivered up to be scourged. No big deal." Yeah, right. That's not usually our response. But it should be, and it should be the goal. Not any of our agenda's. Not any of our opinions. But like Jesus, being lead like a lamb to the slaughter, said, "Not my will, but Yours be done." (Luke 22:42)
It's going to take us feeling deeply for each individual person, and not that person's world view or political party or sexual orientation. Because, "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-8
The kingdom of God I've heard said before is an "upside down, backwards" one. Things that don't make sense in the order of this world, the simple things He calls wise, the last becoming first, dying to yourself daily, agh! How can this be? I don't know, I'm still trying to get there each step at a time each day. I missed it the other day. I was supposed to do something for someone but I directly disobeyed. That's ok. His plan isn't messed up by me, and He'll gladly give me another opportunity. Because that's His way, and how He does things will always be better than how the systems of this world could ever be.
Are you going to live your life in the upside down backwards kingdom or the one that is fading away?
"But the greatest of these is Love"