2016 has been such a tumultuous year, full of protests, police shootings, racial, and political divisiveness and religious and cultural polarization. Social media has become a platform for debates on everything from the presidential campaigns to the Syrian refugee crisis; from the inferred Trump-Putin alliance to the Clinton email scandal; from Black Lives Matter vs All Lives Matter to the Native American pipeline protest in North Dakota.
All too often, I have found myself engaged in a dialogue or debate, in person or online, with a very predictable outcome. I often leave the conversation empty, realizing that it was a complete waste of time and with the sad and regrettable realization that I failed to exemplify, embody or represent a Christian perspective. I have found myself convicted, recalling that in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, we are taught “And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” and in Titus 3:9 “But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.”
The most important lesson that I have learned and been reminded of again and again is that God is always in control; no matter what is going on in the world, no matter who is in the White House, God is and will always be Lord of lords and King of kings. Proverbs 19:21 reminds us that “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” and Joshua 1:9 says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Whatever problems are brewing in our state, our country or our world, we must remember that the battle is not ours to fight. We, as Christians, are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We are supposed to love even our enemies. We are to try to be imitators of God and walk in love, as instructed in Ephesians. When we find ourselves in conversations regarding matters of the world, let us remember that we are in the world but not of the world (John17); let us share God’s love and hope through our words and our deeds, remembering that what we do and say represents Christianity itself to those who don’t know Christ or do not believe.
As the impending presidential election moves closer and as our nation and our world continues to deal with racial, political, religious and other divisive forces, let us be prayerful and consider who we are in Christ, as opposed to who we are in this world. My personal mantra has become, “Before I am female, before I am a person of color, I am a child of God; I am a believer in God Almighty and Jesus Christ and I am here to do His will.”