I do not need a lot of words to describe the state our world and our hearts are in right now.
It feels as if our country is in the midst of an all out brawl in the middle of a mud pit.
Dirty and violent.
In no other time in my life, have I seen people so willing to say the most ugly words, and ironically in the name of empathy, love, tolerance, and justice.
All the guilt tripping, overgeneralizing, name calling, manipulation, threats, and out of context words to frame someone as something they are not.
I have not posted a blog since June, because I have not known how to grasp what was going on in this world, not much less articulate it into words.
But as we reach the end of 2020, here is what God has been speaking to me (and I have been working through, struggling with, and being convicted OF), that I feel I have been called to share.
The first half of this blog… is strong. If these words feel strong, it is because that is how they needed to be for me to grasp what God was saying. I am prideful, bull headed, and can fall into self-righteousness easily. So when God gets a message to me, it usually comes full force.
But sweet soul, please hang in there with me until the end, I have done what I can to season this message with mercy.
- Do not succumb to lowering yourself into the mud and throwing ugly words at others. No matter how righteous you think your motives are.
What is holy and from God will never result in dirtying yourself or others in the process.
Please do not get into the mud-pit in the name of righteousness. It is anything but.
Because what is from God will redeem, restore, repair.
You can, in fact, hold your convictions, speak truth, and fight for what is right in a way that Honors God and maintains your character.
Saying cruel/harsh/bitter words and throwing dirt at the “other side” is not righteous or the right thing to do.
I can hear the mental rebuttal now…”but they are evil, wrong, brainwashed misinformed, selfish, insert whatever name you call the other side”.
Here is my word: I would re-evaluate the word righteous and examine the outcome of your actions, not your intentions.
Because if you lower yourself to the standards of those you disagree with, you have done nothing but erode your character, given away your peace, and will come out covered in the same mud as the person you are fighting.
Those words said in anger will never change the other persons mind, it will only muddy your own heart.
You will never come out of a mud-pit victorious, only dirty.
Here is what I am NOT saying. I am not telling you to rid yourself of what you believe is right.
No, keep on relentlessly fighting for change, for goodness, for what is right. Above all do not water down your convictions.
BUT as we stand firm in our convictions, we must maintain our character and stand steadfast in honor, because the way we fight will change more hearts than what we say. Read that again.
People look at what you do more so than what you say. May your actions reflect the good you are trying to do.
2. If God came for both the Jews and the Gentiles, then I am pretty dang sure he came for both Republicans and Democrats.
And I think it is worth stating that God is not on a political side. The only side he is on is His side and His Kingdom.
To say the King of Kings, sponsors either one of our corrupt, sin-filled, human-run, political party system either severely lacks understanding of God or a severely over idolizes man-kind.
(I know that sentence may have hit a nerve. Grant me the grace to soften it up, keep reading)
I hear it all the time. How can you be christian and vote for literally…whoever.
What this thinking says, is that you believe God is on your political side and I encourage you to reread the statement above.
And I know those words come on very strong, and I can feel how hard they are landing. My heart is to bring to remembrance, that it is God we serve not government.
God even warns us, that by choosing a man (King, president, insert any government leader) to lead us, it will always leave us disappointed.
Why? Because governments are not God.
Instead of arguing over whose side God is on, we need to be putting all our concern into evaluating whether or not we are on God’s side.
And He only has one Kingdom. And let me tell ya, it predates the American bi-party system.
God can use a democrat the same way he can use a Republican. Who are we to assume who God can and will use to do His will? Blue or Red, He is powerful enough to recruit whoever it takes to do his will.
This is harsh, but it is true: you have zero say in who He can and cannot use. Paul legitimately used to murder Christians, and yet through God, he was one of the greatest apostles.
That is why we pray for our leaders, all of them Blue and Red.
3. As a Christian we are called to live and produce Fruits of the Spirit .
That means living life with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.
And yes even in 2020, we are still called to do this.
Your willingness to live by God’s word should never be dictated by world circumstances. It should be reinforced by it.
And this blog post was not started to tell you what not to do… that is easy:
- Stop dehumanizing those who do not think like you, Love your neighbor.
- Stop getting into the pig-pen in the name of righteousness, Don’t throw your pearls to swine.
- Stop subscribing to fear, anger, strife, hysteria. You were not given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.
No, I wrote this blog because you cannot just get rid of something in your life. You have to replace it with something else, or it will return stronger than before.
I dare you, replace your anger at the other side with mercy.
Instead of lowering yourself into the pig-pen, start washing feet.
Wash the feet of those you hate, of those you hurt, of those who have hurt you.
Wash the feet of the other side. Literally or metaphorically start washing feet.
Throwing mud, cutting digs, or engaging in unfruitful dialogue (because lets be real, anytime someones says we need to have a discussion almost all the time they do not want to discuss, they want submission).
How do you know you crave submission over discussion? Can you let the other side walk away with their same beliefs and still care, respect, and love them?
Sidenot: If you have to cancel that person because they did not adopt your thinking, you may be after control, not conversation.
Here is what happens when you wash someones feet.
Humility: There is something so beautifully humbling when you get on your knees and wash someones dirty feet.
Do you know what humility does?
It erodes pride, arrogance, and self-righteousness. It allows you to look inside your own heart with clear eyes. It allows you to see your brokenness and sins for what they are.
Why is this important?
Because when we are drenched in pride we truly believe we are just, and as a result, we can justify any sinful behavior without even realizing it.
Pride makes villianizing the other side easy. Humility dissolves pride.
Why else is it important?
When we can understand, that in ourselves, we are full of shortfalls and are not as justified and in the right as we think we are, we are more willing to have compassion, understanding, and grace for the other side who has the same shortfalls.
We MUST start humanizing the other side, not villianizing.
Humility opens the door for reconciliation. What I believe this country needs most.
Intimacy: Feet washing, let me tell you, is a lot bit awkward and incredibly intimate. Its feet for goodness sake. But that is what makes it so powerful. Our feet, symbolically can represent filth and dirt.
Do you know how intimate it is to have someone see you for your sins, your filth, all the broken areas of your life, to touch the dirty part of your body?
It is vulnerability at its peak.
It is so much easier in our culture to display our naked bodies than to have someone not only see our internal brokenness, but to wash it away for us.
When you wash someones feet you are operating in holy vulnerability and intimacy. You are restoring, repairing, and redeeming.
Restoration: The devil comes like a thief in the night to steal, kill, and destroy. I see a lot of stealing, killing, and destruction in this country.
But God comes to restore, repair, and redeem what is broken. Therefore, my actions must and will always have to reflect this.
When you wash feet, metaphorically or physically, you are washing clean their filth.
Physically getting the dirt off, but symbolically you are remembering how Christ has already died to wash away their sins.
You are not spiritually healing them. Christ has already done that, but you are engaging in a physical act of remembrance of salvation.
You are reminding them that their life has already been bought and freed in Christ.
Do you know what happens when you remind someone who is covered in dirt, that they are worthy and clean?
You give them dignity and hope.
Something our country needs much more of.
Here is what I know you are thinking. “But Michal, we are called to have holy anger, to hate evil, to fight the good fight. We cannot just lay down what we believe is right.”
You are so right.
I am not in any means saying do not get angry at injustice, or to be complacent as tragedies occur left and right. Or to water down your convictions to appease others.
I am NOT saying to glorify and excuse the behaviors of others.
Please, do not do that.
I encourage you wholeheartedly to stand steadfast in your beliefs, to pursue justice, to speak truth, to wage war against evil.
But as you fight for justice and fight the good fight: Here is how God has told us to do it. As Christians, we first and foremost are under God’s authority. The way we engage cannot be the same way the world engages.
We MUST reflect Kingdom Honor as we fight for justice. We cannot fight how culture says we should fight: dirty.
We should, and are, held to a higher standard. We are to operate, at all times, with Kingdom Honor. We cannot fight for good through means that are not good.
So as we stand steadfast in truth, holiness, and fight for the hearts of the world around us:
- Be quick to listen: Even to the other side.
- Slow to speak: A word said in anger can never be taken back.
- Slow to become angered: walking around in constant offense at everything and everyone is not how you were called to live. You will burn every bridge you have that way.
As the election draws nearer and the country gets ready to lower itself into the mud ready for a fight…
Remember that operating in anger, in foolish words, fights, and pure hatred and disgust for others is not going to plant any seeds of peace or reconciliation.
Name calling is never going to win over hearts. There are people out there that want you to hate your political opposite. I am asking you to love them.
What would it look like for our relationships, our country, this world if we stopped throwing filth at each other and in the process dirtying ourselves,
but instead got on our knees before each other and helped one another get clean?