Here is what I know. Officially seven days into Mr. Donald J. Trump’s presidency there have been two nation-wide protests/riots. That is roughly one nation-wide protest/riot per every 3.5 days. What is a little bit comical to me, is if even only 25% of our church membership protested/rioted at our church as a direct result of my leadership on our staff, I’m confident our senior pastor would not allow me to continue serving in the position I currently do – nor should he – until a series of upfront and transparent conversations with both me and the church I serve took place. Apparently the same such transparency isn’t required in our government.
What I also know is seven days into Mr. Donald J. Trump’s presidency he signed an Executive Order indefinitely banning specific people from coming into our country. Right or wrong, like it or not – this kind of rapid, and in the minds of many extreme, action has caused an intense wave of unease throughout our country…and that may be putting it lightly.
What I do know is that no one exactly knows what the next 1,453 days of Mr. Donald J. Trump’s presidency will produce.
In the past fifteen months and perhaps right now more than ever, I am learning the true meaning of my high school Current Affairs teacher’s favorite quote, “When people begin to throw mud, everyone’s hands get dirty.”
Finally, what I know and is perhaps most important to remember, is there is one truth that remains true today that was true fifteen months ago and fifteen-hundred years ago. The only thing a person can truly control is themselves. How we think and what we think about. What we say and what we mean when we say it. How we act and what we choose to do.
And what matters now more than ever, no matter what your convictions, is that we become and remain a people who are known for action and not just declarative statements. Sadly, though, our country’s culture doesn’t seem to even understand this principle well. There is no priority on a person’s commitment to action. No real celebration of men and women actively living out their convictions. Recently I heard the interview of a famous point guard in the NBA. Remarkably, he was heralded as “a generational leader.” Essentially he was given this title because he tweeted in support of protesting the DAPP involving the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Please know that I in no way, shape or form am condemning him for apparently holding a personal position on the matter. What I am dumbfounded by is our culture’s willingness to label someone a leader simply because they formulate 140 characters about a current event.
It is imperative, perhaps now more than ever, that anyone who is a Christ-follower re-surrender and recommit their lives to follow both His life for our example and His teaching for our wisdom. In the famous words of our friend Fox Mulder, “The truth is out there.” And the truth is this: we cannot be a man or a woman who only talks about making a difference, we must be men and women who actually make a difference. Far too many people – Christians and non-Christians, Democrats and Republicans, Conservatives and Liberals – are hiding behind inflated, robust, self-aggrandizing statements and not living committed, consistent, difference-making lives.
Voting and marching and Facebooking* all have their place in our free country. But I implore all of us to see the imperative command to love others and lead people to saving relationship with Jesus. It’s just that simple. With these truths as our guide, it may not be easy but, knowing what to do will be simple. Boiled down to this: if I have the chance to march for a cause – I should wholeheartedly be doing things with my life that live out that cause. If I have the chance to make a post on social media – I should daily be doing things with my life that live out the content of that post.
The best example I can give is this. I recently had a friend reach out to me because his marriage is on the rocks and they are considering divorce. I know this friend is not (yet) a Christian. I should be ashamed of myself if I am consumed with only declaring divorce is wrong and not dedicating my time and energy to showing and sharing the love of Christ with this couple – wholly intent for God to physically use me to help save their marriage.
So please. Enough marching, enough rhetoric – no matter which side of the fence you are on. May we be a generation of Christ-followers who will have it said of us, “they were men and women who didn’t just preach their agendas, but lived out their convictions with love and compassion.”
“Raise your words not your voices. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”
*reference Facebook – may the whole world consider the following response when challenged: Please let me buy you a cup of coffee this week so we can listen to each other face-to-face.