You would have to be hiding under a rock not to have heard what has been happening in the USA the past few months. 2020 has been a milestone year that none of us will forget, with a big factor of that tied to the 2020 election and the presidential election results. I am not a political platform, and with that I believe that being a normal, everyday voter and expressing your opinion ONLINE isn’t healthy–it simply creates discourse and hurt, especially among people who love and trust one another. But I do have an opinion: one that I prayed over and gave to the Lord, and believe strongly in; an opinion that I believe is tied into the beliefs and convictions of my faith, and for my country moving forward.
But more important that what I believe, I’ve felt a gentle nudging this year to deeply ponder Jesus words from Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT): “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
You see, I’m bothered. I’m bothered because I’m not alone in believing strongly in my convictions. Just as I have prayed over my political position and have given it to God, so have others–others that I love and respect, Pastors who I listen to each and every week (with both large and small platforms), colleagues, spiritual leaders, activists, teachers, friends. And yet, as believers, we are just as divided as unbelievers whose only focus is the world.
Why is that?
I am in no way believe I am “holier than thou,” so I can’t help but ask myself if we are all seeking Jesus, why are we so divided on issues that seem fundamental? If we all believe that the equally greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves, why does it feel like we only focus on one or two issues, rather than care for the person as a whole–every part of them that needs love and healing, direction and care. My heart jus heavy with this, and unfortunately, I don’t think I actually have any answers to share.
Recently I’ve been reading “The Blue Parakeet” by Scot McKnight. I admit, I should probably finish the book before I go into opinions about it, but within the first pages he addresses dissension in the church due to theological beliefs. The Christian community want to try to come together under one political roof, when in all fairness, we haven’t been able to agree on many theological issues. Look at the sects, the denominations, the church plants, the long standing institutions: pick one topic that you believe strongly in, and I can find strong Christian individuals and church denominations, who love Jesus and strive to serve Him, but have very different beliefs than you do on that particular issue.
When I ask the Lord about this and about His heart on these issues, I’m always confronted with truth: I don’t know everything, I’ll never know everything; instead I need to seek Him and His voice and allow the Lord to speak through His living Word directly to me–not just try to use it as a tool to “teach” or “explain” to others. And overall, I need focus on Jesus words in Matthew 22.
I can guarantee you this: people may or may not remember what you stood for, but more than anything they will remember the way you loved them, and the way you loved God. Everything comes second to love. The Lord works directly through love, and if you’re truly living out that command, then when you experience the love that God has for others, you will see them for who they truly are: created in His image, made with a purpose, dear sons and daughters to Him.
And what is love? Love is grace. Love is enduring. Love is faithful. Love is rejoicing and singing. Love is patience and kindness. True love is unconditional.
So today, honestly, it doesn’t much matter what I believe to be true. It matters how I treat others through God’s truth and love. That’s what I’m focused on. That’s what I pray for. And I know that through love comes truth and wisdom. I hold onto that today.