I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t want to write this post. I didn’t want to go there. Why? Because of the reactions, because of all the varied, crazy responses I’ve seen flying around me in the face of so much change and conflict in the country I love. It’s enough turmoil to make one wish to squirrel away for a month or so until things blow over, but as I stood in the shower spray this morning and prayed, this is what I got.
I’ve noticed many different types of reactions to the recent decisions made in our country, such as the recent Supreme Court ruling on Gay marriage. There’s been a lot of reactions nationwide from our leaders, our government, our citizens, and also the Christian community. It’s really had me thinking, and it’s had me on my knees.
Here’s four ways Christians can possibly respond to the changes around us, and my thoughts on those reactions.
1. Anger. I think this one has probably been most prevalent, and I can understand. I’m not telling you not to be mad as a Christian when the world acts in a manner that goes against your morals and beliefs, but I would add this thought to the equation. We must be cautious not to allow our feelings of anger to be used by Satan. Instead we must allow Jesus to guide our words, thoughts, and actions.
So often Christians wish to recant the story of Jesus in the temple with the money changers, cracking his whip. It’s like, hey, if Jesus got mad then so can I! I’m good. We all are guilty of placing Jesus in a box, drawing on the piece of His character that we need at the time, but Jesus is much more dynamic than that.
Jesus had righteous anger, Jesus grieved, and Jesus was love. Often times in our righteous anger we allow our emotions to rule our actions. We become blind in our rage, and we speak words tainted with hate.
Controlling our anger is one of the toughest things a Christian faces, and it’s hard in a world where sin is commonplace. It’s even harder when speaking passionately about your personal beliefs is perceived as hate speech if it doesn’t conform to the worldly status quo. Although speaking out loud what you believe isn’t being judgmental, that’s exactly how it’s perceived and labeled. We should be angry at that persecution, and strongly frustrated that equality only applies to some. We should be affected to the point that we don’t bury our heads in the sand, but we must remember to harness our anger.
We cannot allow Satan to pervert our righteous indignation into words of division, words that cut like a sword severing us from the rest of humanity. No one’s life was ever changed by a ranting Facebook update. We must remember that God changes lives; our job is to love unconditionally. Even in our anger.
2. Despondency. I hate this response. I understand it, but I hate it. The world hasn’t changed overnight. I often imagine our country like a toad being ever so slowly boiled in a pot so that even he is unaware he’s being cooked alive.
In 1973 Roe vs Wade paved the way for legal abortion, and changes have been occurring all around us ever since I was born, I know. But when another big change occurs that challenges our belief system we are thrown into a frenzy. Often times we are catapulted into despair.
I see the words of others. Our world is going to hell in a hand basket. The end is near. Jesus, come quickly.
No more that I asked you to forgo anger am I saying you cannot be sad. We are allowed to grieve over the downfall of man. Even Jesus wept. But what happens many times is we allow our grief to plummet into despondency. We lose all joy over God’s hand in existence here on this earth, and we feel despair. We end up succumbing to a spirit of defeat over a world we cannot change, but this is not what God wants for us at all.
Even in our sadness, grief, and disappointment we must always remember the truth. The Lord still reigns. King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, He holds supreme power over all things.
3. Indifference. It doesn’t affect me, so I’m not worried about it. To each his own. It’s none of my business. Who cares?! Blah, blah, blah.
I can totally understand this response. This is the easy, comfortable way to react, especially when opinions cause you to lose friendships or hurt other’s feelings. In the difficulties inherent with sharing what you believe to be the Biblical truth versus being branded a judgmental bigot it’s easiest to remain silent. It’s best overall for your feelings and everyone else’s to keep your mouth shut. I. Get. It.
Tempers flare, stubborn minds stay put, and convicted hearts are the most easily wounded by poorly placed words that are motivated by anger. It’s a challenge to be a Christian who believes the statutes of the Bible to be true. It’s not easy to see each and every sin described in scripture as a real commandment to abstain from for us today. Black and white is hard; gray is easier. I. Get. It.
I will admit I don’t know everything, and I have many questions I plan to ask God one day. I’m sure many of you feel the same. I can believe what I believe for myself and my family. So I can then decide to be indifferent to what others believe, and even convince myself it doesn’t affect my perfect little family. But there is this one little thing. Everything that is happening around us affects us. If it affects our world, it affects us. We can go down to the basement to hide out all we want as it’s certainly more comfortable that way, and it makes for better interpersonal relationships, but indifference is never the answer.
1 Timothy 2:1
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people
Prayer is the answer. Actually caring for those outside our circle is the answer. It’s okay to not be indifferent to the lives of someone else. It’s okay to care. That’s what we’re supposed to do.
4. Hope. In a world that is constantly changing, that is skewing far away from the moral center we hold dear, it’s easy to get angry. It’s easy to get despondent. It’s even easier to become indifferent. But what seems to evade us through all the varying reactions is the most important of all. This central theme is what drives the Christian faith, yet we somehow allow it to slip through our fingers.
In life, especially in a chaotic, difficult life, we must always hold to our faith. We must always grab ahold ferociously of our hope that God is in control. Even when it’s not easy to see any good come from a situation we must cling to hope that God’s people will rise triumphantly. The battle has already been won, after all.
We must be hopeful for a revelation of God’s love in hearts across this country. We must be hopeful for His Holy Spirit to transform lives. We must pray in a hopeful spirit for revival, for the people of God to wake up, rise up, and band together in times of turmoil.
There are many ways we can react to change around us, but there is only one way we must react, and that is with hope for the future.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.