I find it interesting that there were no strangers out today. Everyone, everywhere had something to say.
Donald Trump has been elected President of The United States of America.
At the gas station, Diner, parking lot, and school today, I repeatedly found myself in the cross fire of a cross country conversation consisting of God, government, gloating, and grumbling. Some remarks from seemingly sane adults were alarmingly incoherent and random. All the talk, and hype ( I guess road rage happens while surfing the web too) reminded me of the word count of every first draft that I've ever written. Too many words. I figured if I'm eating, I'm not speaking, so my mother in law and I went to have brunch. On the way, an old man shouted at me prior to getting into his vehicle. I'm not sure what he meant, or even what he said, much less why. AlI I could make out was, "Hillary Clinton!". Later at the gas station, I arrived just in time to duck a slimy slur hurled across the room like a discus in the olympics. "White trash!". I soon learned that the discus- diss-cuss, discussed, to my disgust, was not intended to offend me as any racial slur should, but rather to incite me to participate in the verbal bashing of a man that was not present. The president. I find it interesting there were no strangers today. Everyone, everywhere had something to say. Perhaps what's even more interesting than the sudden comfortability talking politics and religion with strangers, is the presumption that everyone is, or ought to be in agreement with certain sentiments. As if the very uproar itself, isn't an indicator of the long division of a nation that will require far more than 140 characters, 23 FB post likes, thought provoking quote images enhanced by IG filters, two blog comments (one from mom), Monday morning quarterbacks and back seat drivers gloating and grumbling to solve. We are most definitely not all on the same page America. I know what you're thinking. Who did I vote for? I did not vote. I'm not exactly proud of this decision. I considered voting, and even contemplatively walked by the school where I would be able to, but I did not. I sought justification for not voting in the lack of reasonable options to choose from in the candidates running, but I know well enough that there are wars to be won in the grey though the battle may seem to be black and white. I'm hoping to grow up and out of an attitude of futility toward politics sooner than later as I become more informed, politically and biblically. In the meantime Here are a few things I would love for us all to consider and keep in mind in regards to the current climate of our nation. God, government, gloating, and grumbling.
God & Government
The bible has much to say about government, and authority, all of which are valuable. Lets look at two examples of how Jesus our Lord, responded in situations involving the ruling government during his ministry in Israel.
"Throughout the life of Jesus, Tiberius was the Emperor of Rome. He was the second Roman Emperor, after Augustus who died in 14 AD." - Bible-history.com
During the ministry of Jesus, the Jewish people were subject to the dictatorship of the Roman empire. Jesus was Jewish. It is safe to say that Tiberius Caesar, the emperor of Rome was no man of God. In contrast, the Roman empire was the absolute antithesis of Judaism, and Christianity. Victims of social injustice, inequality, and oppression, the jewish people longed for a king that would liberate them from the clutch of Rome. Jesus was, and is, their, and our King. Only Jesus did things much differently from the way that they expected and even desired. In the same way, when we seek Godly direction, we find that God's plan of action is often much different from our own. One day a group of religious leaders who opposed the teachings of Jesus, tried to trap Jesus with what they thought would be a challenging question. They asked Jesus, "should we pay taxes to Caesar?". This is a loaded question. I believe the underlying question is should we honor, respect, and be obedient to the authority of an ungodly dictator? Jesus responded by telling his challengers to "give to caesar what belongs to caesar, and give to God, what belongs to God." In essence, he was saying yes, pay taxes, respect, honor, and be obedient to the governing authorities without neglecting to serve God, the ultimate authority. So do the two ever conflict? Absolutely. Here is another example of how Jesus responded to the governing authority during the time of his ministry.
"Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness."
- Luke 3:1-2
"He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 33In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!"
Herod the tetrarch of Galilee unjustly arrested, and beheaded John the baptist. Jesus' cousin. On a separate occasion Jesus was told by some Pharisees that he should leave, and go somewhere else because Herod desired to kill him. How did Jesus respond? Here's how:
Jesus responded fearlessly, defiantly, and confidently. Jesus knew his rights, and refused to neglect his ministry to the poor, the sick, and the sinner, even if it cost him his life, which ultimately it would. These two examples illustrate a time to yield, and a time to yell. A time to respect, and a time to reject. The key is to know when to do which. The holy spirit will guide you as He did Jesus, so long as you humble yourself before God and man.
Gloating & Grumbling
What good is grumbling? Let it go. Gloating is gaudy, and the furthest from Godly
There is something intrinsic about winning and losing that exposes the heart of a man. Hidden motives are revealed, inner intentions brought to light, when faced with the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat. Was not the goal of every man to better our nation? Or perhaps that was never the goal at all. All this talk of a wall, and yet we've already built one, right here within our hearts. Too many of us are regurgitating the views of a news channel, or a blog, allowing the news paper to determine our new principle. I'm learning that It is often better to listen than to speak. It is best to process and pray prior to pontificating. Even now, I must remind myself to tame this treacherous tongue of mine. Why? Although I've now officially entered the conversation, my conviction in regards to all the talk and social media posts is conveyed in this scripture:
When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise. Proverbs 10:19
It is our responsibility to do our part on a local level. In our homes, churches, schools and communities. It is our responsibility to pray for our leaders, even those whom we disagree with.
Thank you for reading. Please respond (comment) and repost. This is a great way to support our ministry efforts with just a few clicks. -Randy Mason