I am going to step out on a limb today and talk about something that I never talk about. I am going to step out and share my opinion and most likely someone is not going to like what I have to say. I am going to talk about politics. If you know me, you will know, I never talk politics. Why? Because I know who is King and I know how the story ends. Whoever ends up sitting in the White House is not there because I stormed the streets and campaigned for them to be there. They are there because my God is Sovereign and His plan and purposes will always come to pass. I vote and I do listen to what is happening in the land of politics, but I never talk about it. But today, I have this aching in my heart that I need to share with you and it lands on the subject of politics.
You do not have to live in the United States to know that our options for our next President of the United States is less than acceptable. I do not know much about Donald Trump, nor do I know a whole lot about Hillary Clinton. I know what the media has reported and I know what they have been reported to say, but to know who they truly are and what kind of president they are going to make- I have no clue. I have never sat down to coffee with either of them, so I don’t know where their hearts are at with the Lord. I doubt that either of them are Christians, but then again, it’s not my place nor my purpose on this earth to determine that. That is usually left up to my very capable God who is the only one who knows either of them completely and utterly. What bothers me the most is the way we as American Christians have taken it upon ourselves to tear them down, even though God has called us to pray for them, to bear with them and to love them, just like He loves us.
Now, before you get all upset and start going off on me about how this candidate is this and this candidate is that, let me remind you that I really don’t care. I will pray about who the Lord wants me to vote for and I will trust His leading as I place my ballot in the box. I am voting, but who they are as people I may never truly know. I am not called to judge them; I am only being asked to vote for one of them. What I do care about is the constant tearing down, and the constant evil speaking that is coming from Christians about these two candidates. The meme’s being posted, the articles being shared, the lies being freely spread by Christians who love Jesus because they are for one and against the other. My brothers and sisters, please, these things ought not to be so!
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:29-32 ESV
Ephesians 4:29-32 ESV
Paul is not only speaking to us about the way we treat other Christians, but he way we treat people in general. He is talking to us about the way we carry ourselves in the world. In verse 1 of chapter 4 Paul starts off by telling us that we are to “walk worthy of the calling” that we have been given. We have been called to be lights in the darkness, we have been called to be formed into the image of Jesus Christ, we have been called to carry the gospel message to all who live on this earth. We have been called to walk worthy. This passage in verse 29-32 is not only referring to how we must treat one another in the faith, but how we must treat others outside the faith as well. That includes the two that are running for president.
In verse 2 of chapter 4 Paul also tells us that we are to bear with one another and then in verse 3 he encourages us to be eager to keep the bond of peace and unity among us. How can we do any of these things when all we do is tear one another apart? How can you honestly and sincerely say that you are walking worthy of your calling when the things you are saying only seek to destroy the other person? This question not only applies to the people running for president, but it applies to that girl you made a comment about in your conversation with your friend yesterday. It applies to the comments you made about that fellow co-worker to one of your ladies at bible study last night. It’s that gossip you spoke under the guise of prayer. These words of Paul speak to all of us in regards to the way we talk about people- all people.
Paul instructs us in verses 22-23 of chapter 4 that we must “put off the old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds.” The reason why I want to tear someone down is for the sole purpose of building myself up. Pride is the underlying root of all our corrupt communication. Our selfish pride will tear down someone the first chance it gets. The things I have seen being posted by my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ not only about politics, but about other issues and other people breaks my heart. It has gotten so bad that I have had to unfollow many of them. I have had to hide them from my timeline because I just can’t take seeing it any longer. It hurts too much.
Not too long ago I opened up my refrigerator and was assailed by the gut wrenching smell of something rotten. We had been gone for a weekend and when we came back something was stinking up the whole fridge. I pulled everything out and eventually found an old rotten bag of lettuce shoved in the back of one of the drawers. It was rotten to the point of soup. It was so rotten that it made my stomach turn as I pulled it out and carried it away from the house. This little bag of lettuce ended up rotting just about everything else in my fridge. I had to clean out, scrub with cleaners and put a box of baking soda in the fridge just to get rid of the smell. It took a day or two but eventually, the smell dissipated. The food however, that was affected, had to be thrown out, it was useless and no good.
Our words are like fruit. They are seeds that come forth from our hearts and get planted into the hearts and minds of others. Every time I speak about someone to someone I am planting a seed in their minds about that person. I will either encourage and build up or I will tear down and destroy. I will either plant good seeds that grow up into useful fruit or I will plant rotten seeds that grow up and stink up the whole fridge causing everything else in there to be tossed away.
Our corrupting talk, our gossip, our tearing down of others, (yes, even the presidential candidates) grieves the Holy Spirit. Jesus was not a gossip, nor did He speak rotten things about other people. I have heard people say that Jesus did similar to what we are doing to these candidates when He called others “brood of vipers” or “whitewashed tombs”. But let me remind you that first of all, Jesus is God. He was not tearing them down, He was tearing away their falsehood and their fakeness. He saw them clearly because He is God. We are not God. Our vision of other people is tainted by the sin that is in us. We must pay careful attention to how we are walking in regards to our speech. What we say grieves our Father in heaven. One commentator wrote that our polluting speech is of great grief to the Holy One. Think about that the next time you choose to speak your opinion so freely.
We must let all bitterness, which is in the original translation evil speaking, and anger, clamor or as Vine’s Expository puts it, “the tumult of controversy” and slander away from us. If we are His then we must walk it and talk it. It hurts me to hear such vile and evil things being spoken about others, even those we do not truly know. People we’ve never met yet we say such mean and hateful things about them. No wonder why the world laughs at Christianity- we make it a mockery by the words that come out of our mouths.
We are not called to point out the faults and failures of others, we are called to point out Jesus and point to Jesus. I am sick, just sick of seeing and hearing so many of my brothers and sisters saying and posting such hateful things not only about the political candidates, but about one another. It breaks my heart.
Our words are fruit. Please, if you get nothing else out of this post today, at least get that. Your words will either become good fruit or they will become rotten fruit. What are you planting? Is it good and wholesome or is it stinky and rotten? Is it good enough to eat or should it be thrown in the trash? I myself am convicted by these words because I need to do some cleaning out myself.
We are called to have compassion, to pray for one another, to forgive one another. What if, instead of posting that meme about Hillary, you instead took five minutes to pray for her? What if, instead of saying that thing you heard about Donald, you took two minutes to pray for him? Jesus can save to the uttermost, let us not forget. What if we, as Christians, as Americans started to pray for these candidates instead of tearing them down. What might happen then? What if, instead of pointing out the grievances we have against one another, we instead chose to pray for one another? What if the seeds you started to plant today were wholesome and edifying? What kind of fruit would do you think we could harvest from that? What if, indeed!