“God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world – what is viewed as nothing – to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one may boast in his presence. It is from him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom from God for us-our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, in order that, as it is written: Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:28-31 (CSB)
We have a few weeks remaining before the Presidential election here in the United States. Honestly, this year has been one of the most sobering, embarrassing, and discouraging seasons in my fifty years on planet earth. I battled cancer this year. My mom died this year. I’ve been unable to serve the flock I care for since March and have only preached twice since then. 2020 will not ever make my most-awesome-year-ever list.
But those difficult things have not been the most discouraging or difficult aspects of 2020 for me. Here is what draws my soul downward in these days:
The overt dismissal of God’s clear, biblical call to His children to operate in humility, kindness and unity has been what has rested most heavily on my heart. Christians have blown off the Almighty and His expectation that we refrain from proud interaction with others. Political pride rooted in presumed patriotism has seemingly permitted some Christians to violate the Kingdom virtues of kindness and intentional humility. The fleshly tribalism which has led other Christians to split from their spiritual families and align with their cultural tribes has broken my heart. As I have been seated on the sidelines during my sabbatical and have been witness to the verbal flame-throwing on social media, I’ve often wondered how and when so many among us have forgotten that they are actually followers of Jesus, the One who endured rejection, injustice, betrayal and abandonment without lifting a word of protest. How has this soul-shaking reality of Jesus’ example to us slipped our minds as we perpetually peg one another from the cowardly confines of the online social media world?
The verses above from 1st Corinthians 1:28-31 tells us how foolish we are when we drive down our tent stakes in some political or cultural identity. We have become a gathering of proud, vocal boasters. It is so far beneath the dignity which Jesus has provided us. Yet, some continue to pound their chests and give themselves permission to boast in their political and cultural affiliations. I imagine that the onlooking angels of Heaven are aghast as they behold in reverent gaze the King in all His immeasurable glory…and then observe with a holy wince those who say they belong to that King wallowing in the mire of their contaminated political or cultural tribalism. They see Him giving off eternal glory and then have to witness some among us trying to give off a glory of a different type.
Some Christians have wasted the year by boasting in these unworthy things. They are like eighteen-month-olds who are so proud to walk on their own, but ignorant that their diapers are filled with that which is making the rest of us gag as they parade in front of us.
Yeah, I just wrote that.
Maybe one person will listen to me. I would be okay with that. Just one, maybe. I wrote a few weeks ago in another place that we are all allowed to hold very strong political and cultural convictions…but we are not allowed to enthrone them. That statement helped some people who wrongly believed that I am apolitical. I’m not at all. I’ve just been graced by God to not give my time and energy to the fruitless cause of spending an entire year consumed by culture and politics. I seek to remain consumed with the Man who loves me, died for me, rose on my behalf, presently shepherds and prays for me, and is coming back to see me some day. I endeavor to remain gripped by the thought of Him, of Jesus Christ.
As I write these words, we have 25 days left until the election. There is still time for you to repent if you need to. There is still time for you to begin to exercise your right to remain silent. By the way, all of the sinful venting on social media doesn’t change anyone’s minds. It just makes the person venting feel momentarily superior. It feeds your flesh. It also greatly displeases the Father. You should really knock it off. He’s a good Father, but He does not indulge the sins of His hardheaded kids. He already told us that He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Remember when He said that?
So the question might be, “Do my expressions of my political and cultural views evidence pride or humility?”
If you can answer that question, you can then accurately discern what to anticipate coming down the pike toward you from the throne. He is so gracious to let us make the choice for ourselves. He also lets us receive the consequences for what we choose.