If you watch the news at all these days – which I do not recommend except in brief, quick bursts – you probably can’t avoid hearing about the state of America these days.
It’s not pretty.
If you are not American (like me), it can also be very easy to think things like; “Wow, I can’t believe they can be so stupid”, or “Man am I glad our country isn’t like that”, or even “Man, we (I) are (am) so much better than them”.
But these thoughts actually go the very heart of the issue. The story playing out in the US these days is the story of us. It is the story of the human heart. It is the story of tribal thinking. It is history repeating itself over and again.
I’ve had a small group of people give me a hard time for “going on about Trump” especially since I live in Canada and it really has very little direct impact on me personally.
This is true, except for two things:
- As horrible a man as I feel he is, I care less about Trump than I do about the fact that so many “good” people support him. More about this later …
- Seeing the evil in the heart’s of others will hopefully lead us to see the evil in our own hearts. This, I would hope, will lead to repentance and a change in direction for my own life.
So, let’s start with racism.
It can be very easy to believe that I am not racist. Except, the truth is that I am. All of us are. We all live in environments that condition us to prefer people that are just like us. The question is not whether or not we have these preferences for “sameness”, the question is whether or not we are working through this in an attempt to change.
I did not choose to be born white, but I do benefit from being white; am I content to simply reap the benefits selfishly for myself, or do I recognize the injustice that simply being born this way offers me advantages others do not enjoy and work to reduce these inequalities in whatever small ways I can?
Do I value things and systems that even inadvertently create barriers to certain “tribes” of people? Things like the justice system, voting systems, the economy, etc …
These things seem huge and ugly and beyond one person’s ability to change – and they may just be too big for me – but that doesn’t mean I should silently accept my privilege and ignore the impacts they have on others.
As a Christian, I feel it is our duty to bring the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven, and I don’t believe the Kingdom of God in heaven shows preference to someone simply because they were born with a lighter skin tone than someone else …
… or were born male rather than female …
… or was born in Canada rather than Palestine …
… or …
And this is why seeing “good”, “christian” people support policies that further create inequalities by preferring someone of this race, sex, country, etc … over another makes me so irate.
It is one thing for “your average Joe” to get sucked into the rhetoric of the world. The persuasive arguments that say:
- “you need to look out for number one”
- “it’s just business – it’s dog-eat-dog out there and you need to do whatever it takes to win”
- “people get what they earn”
- “success looks like this (money, fame, power)”
- “if we could just ____, then everything would be perfect”
- <insert your own>
But for a self-confessed “christian” to believe these statements is Biblical Illiteracy 101. Jesus came for the “least of these”. He says he did not come for the healthy and well-off, but for the sick and those who need help (which, if we are honest, is all of us). He is constantly on the side of the oppressed and those in need — and not once aligns himself with any form of worldly power or the rich.
The only conclusion I can come to when I see “christians” falling for these statements, policies, and beliefs is that they do not truly understand what being a Christian means, which is to follow in the footsteps of Christ and self-sacrificially give of ourselves for the sake of others.
Not for the sake of people who are just like us and can repay us, but for those “in need”.
For others we might consider enemies.
For people who cannot return benefit to us in any way but do not have access to the same things we do.
This is the what the Kingdom of God looks like when it comes on earth as in heaven. And that’s the only thing we “little Christs” are told to pursue.
Everything else will take care of itself if this is our focus we are told.
And we can trust that God will take care of us because He is Lord! He is the one who reigns over eternity and we can rest knowing his ways and his self-sacrificial focus is the true path to eternal “success”.
This Good News is so fundamental to christianity and yet seems lost to much of what calls itself christianity these days … and that is what I “go on about”.
Lord, help your church to begin to rise up and see it’s true calling as citizens of your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Help us to see the evil in our own hearts as reflected to us in our brothers, our leaders, and our enemies. Help us to repent of the ways we contribute to and condone ways that treat others as less important than ourself.