Someone posted a simple question on Facebook. It was… “Who are You Voting Against?” I thought it was brilliant.
Following that, I drove by a political sign in front of someone’s house. It read, “VOTE. Anyone But Trump”. (any name can be inserted here)
All this made me think. I have an ex-Muslim friend that once explained to me the nature of religion, using Islam as an example, is based on a negative principle. Originally built on a foundation of being against the teachings of Christianity, this negativity is perpetrated by being inscribed on mosques, “Allah is NOT…” I don’t know if I am properly explaining my friend’s point, but hopefully you get the gist. It is an attitude not just found in Islam.
We might add:
“The President/Government should NOT…”
“God is NOT…”
“Church is NOT…”
“That person should NOT say that, or do that…”
I have noticed something the last couple years. There is a huge segment of society that is reacting. Reacting in anger. Reacting in disappointment. And reacting in hurt. Deep hurts. It’s like a war going on, even an apocalypse, and it’s perhaps destroying more people’s peace and well-being than all the physical wars put together.
It is evident everywhere in society. Have you noticed? It’s not only in certain minority and other people groups, but also in some of your family members and people that you meet every day.
No wait. It’s likely much closer than that.
“A sad observation I have made. People with a heart wound, going on a head trip.” – Jay Ferris
How subtle this head trip is, and how tragic when the wounding begins in the heart of a child! People getting hurt and disappointed by authority figures who were respected and looked up to, or people who they were close to, who then failed them. A seed quietly grows inside, forming a root that no one knows is bitter at the start. Some say little in response, retreating into a world of relational or spiritual isolation. Others say more, taking on a more proud stance in attention-grabbing soapboxes or causes, including “bible thumping” people from a distance — all in a way that polarizes others, and exonerates themselves.
Enter the expression of Facebook posts. Blogs. Voting Booths. Pulpits. Religious (or non-religious) denominations and practices. Whatever it is, there is an outlet for the bitterness of the human soul to express itself, and what it is against.
I remember being a part of a home group where for many weeks, even months, all we did was talk about what was wrong with organized churches and their beliefs. Finally, a woman visited who broke the negative spirit we were under. On one particular topic she asked, “I know WHAT you believe about this. That much is clear. But WHY do you believe it?” That question set us in a different and better direction after that, than just being “against” stuff.
The disciples of Jesus were against some people, too. One time they heard about some strangers who were doing the same good works that Jesus had them doing. They tattled it to Jesus, thinking He too would be suspicious of these “non-disciples.” But Jesus had the right heart. He told His disciples:
“Whoever is not against us, is for us.” – Mark 9:40
When it comes down to it, God IS love. He is not Hate. This doesn’t mean He doesn’t hate things (the Bible says He does), but it doesn’t encapsulate God into a negative, but a positive.
I think this is a good thing to keep in mind, not only during this highly charged political season, but in all our dealings.
Most importantly, may it humble and guide the very attitude of our hearts!