Oh, friends. What a difficult time we’re living in. So much disagreement. So much tension. And admittedly, I’m adding to that tension. I am not sorry.
I recently told my sister about a snarky reply I gave a former college professor who had a political disagreement with me online. On the surface, it was benign. But below, I knew it delivered a painful blow. And then I lied to her about it. I said I didn’t meant to hurt his feelings, but…
“Yes, you did.”
*Pause, deep gasp* Yes, I DID mean to hurt his feelings. That truth bomb stung, but in a good way. I am a writer. I use words professionally. I knew exactly what I was doing, and my sister called me out. I’m so glad she did.
If you’ve followed my Facebook page, or are friends with me on Facebook or in real life, you probably already know I’m not a fan of our current president. At all at all at all. Double not at all. And no, I don’t hate people who voted for him. After all, I’m married to one. *deep gasp again* You see, I’ve got to find a way to make it work. I love my husband deeply. He’s a good, good person. And so are my many, many family members who voted for him. And my entire town. And entire state. So, you see, I don’t have the luxury of a bubble. I’m exposed. Rubbed raw. But I won’t compromise my beliefs. I’ve been vocal. And it’s been hard. And for the most part, I’m still loved. Still accepted. Perhaps side-eyed at the grocery store, but not run out of Dodge entirely. For that, I’m grateful. *blows kisses to Trump supporters who love me*
That being said, I know I’ve developed an anti-fan club. People who log into Facebook, see my posts, roll their eyes back as far into their heads as they’ll go, and keep on scrolling. Or they unfollow. Or unfriend altogether. And then there are those who engage. And plenty who disagree. Bless them. Bless you. (And I don’t mean that in the sarcastic Southern way). To stick your neck out and engage in the political process is something to be applauded.
I’m a pot stirrer. A rabble rouser. An emotion provoker. And I know exactly what I’m doing. Or at least, what I’m trying to do. Or what I want to do. I want to build bridges, and I want to tear down false idols. I hear a steady drum beat. Mandisa’s “Born for This” (based on the story of Esther), is the anthem of my soul.
“Rock this boat and I just might drown. Honesty seems to come with a price…”
Sometimes, a shame creeps in. A vulnerability hangover. Should I have said those things? Should I have bared my soul? Should I have pointed a finger, when there are three pointing back at me? (Try it, you’ll see.)
If not now, when? If not this, what? This is my purpose. THIS. To take my talents and tragedy and use them for good. Not superficial touchy-feely good, but real, hard-earned, heart-changing good. And that’s not easy. And not always pretty.
While driving home from a speaking engagement on the high plains of north central Kansas, I caught the tail end of a radio sermon. I didn’t know who was preaching, but I stopped changing stations and tuned in. His words hit me. Hard. He spoke of Jesus, and his relentless nagging of the Pharisees.
“Jesus loved to poke at the Pharisees. He loved to just kind of bop them in the eye. He loved to pop their balloon. Jesus had an amazing ability to comfort the afflicted, while afflicting the comfortable. He still does that today. If you’re in pain, any kind of pain, Jesus wants to comfort you. If you’re comfortable, Jesus probably wants to put you in pain. Because there are some things that probably need to change in your life. You’ve become comfortable with the status quo.”
So who were the Pharisees? According to this radio preacher, they were “the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. They were incredibly arrogant, not humble, prideful, self righteous, judgmental, demeaning, demanding, and really didn’t like people. And their number one characteristic? They’re hypocrites. They say one thing, but believe something else.”
Sound familiar? Yes, admittedly, I first pictured our current president. But when you look further, when you admit your own flaws and failures, we’re all Pharisees. See? We all fall short of grace, and that’s the whole point. But Jesus was especially hard on those who should know better. And when we proclaim the name of Christ, of Christian, we should expect no less.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
– Proverbs 27:17
For this to happen, for iron to sharpen iron, friction must occur. You might have words with your neighbor or cousin or that guy you sat by in College Algebra. It’s okay. Remain kind, but speak truth. And be prepared to listen, really listen. Being a Christian doesn’t mean conflict avoidance, and in fact, our faith calls us to action.
What would Jesus do? Bop you in the eye. <3
And P.S., that radio pastor? Turns out it was Rick Warren. You know, The Purpose Drive Life guy? Yep. That message was meant for me. <3