I've been overwhelmed with this thought lately. Somewhere along the line we bought the lie that uniformity equals unity. That loving one another means we have to agree on everything. That if we disagree on things, (let's say, I don't approve of your lifestyle) then I don't really love you.
It's ironic. Our culture talks of tolerance. But the moment someone disagrees with someone else, they are de-friended, belittled or publicly criticized. Am I right? I don't quite understand this mentality. If everybody agreed with my opinions, then you'd be smart (wink), and we wouldn't need tolerance. I'd just be demanding uniformity…"my way or else!"
There are times, for the sake of peace and friendship, we need to kindly agree to disagree.
I believe Jesus teaches something different. Not tolerance in that we change God's definition of sin and holiness. Not moving the benchmark of holiness to the whims of culture. But instead loving people outrageously, intentionally, and with great sacrifice - even when we don't see eye to eye. I just want to say, if you disagree with me…I still love you. And I will treat you with respect and courtesy as best I can. This is a weird tension, but one we must choose to live in if we are going to follow Jesus faithfully.
Here's a simple example. If you had a family member who was a heroine addict, would you agree with their lifestyle? No. Would you be concerned, even pained, at their destructive and deadly habit? Yes. But would you stop loving them? No way. You'd be hurting for them, interceding for them, trying to encourage them in the right direction. But the one thing you probably wouldn't do is stop loving them...even if they disagreed with you that heroine was killing them.
So here is my challenge to those of us who call Jesus the leader of our lives. (If you don't, you kinda get a free pass. No worries. Thanks for stopping by and reading this though.) Christ-followers, I encourage you to love, love, love. Love people who have a different opinion than you. Choose kindness when the fists are swinging. Love…wait for it…people who voted differently than you. Oh my goodness. Not that!! Anything but that, right? Ha ha.
It's no joke really. Our country is going through massive turmoil. But my best wisdom to you and to myself is to get on our knees and pray. Pray for our nation. Pray for our president…even if you don't acknowledge him as your president. We don't get a pass friends. Not even for Donald Trump. God calls us to higher ground. To walk in obedience. To love well. And to pray. To pray for our friends, our families, our government…and if that isn't enough…He calls us to love and pray for our enemies. Did Jesus leave anybody out?
Honestly, many of you are knocking this out of the park. Praise God! You have been praying this whole time; through this election process. You have been fasting. You are on your knees praying for our culture, for the next generation, for those who have not met Jesus yet. Thank you! Yes and amen. You are loving well. But now is not the time to quit. It's time to turn it up to eleven. Crank. It. Up. To pray for revival, repentance, and heaven to invade earth.
Do you believe the Unites States is a lost cause? I don't. I wish you could experience what's happening here in Nashville. It's always been called "Music City." But I believe, and so do my pastors, that it is growing into "Worship City." In fact, I believe that's why I'm living here. That's why God had us move 2 years ago. The tides are turning. Culture is shifting. Miracles and healings are happening. The presence and power of God is awakening and changing the atmosphere. We can be a part of the change, or we can miss out, be mean, careless, and quick-tempered with our words…because sometimes it just feels soooooo good to give people a piece of our mind! LOL.
I get it. Sometimes I just want to punch people in the nose. But you know what? I'm fairly certain that is NOT what Jesus would do. Instead He surrendered His life, was mocked and murdered to break the curse of sin off all people - including the very people putting Him to death. Including the people marching…or not marching…and those griping about the marching…and those griping about those who are griping. Jesus is our truest, most perfect example.
This is real love. This is true tolerance. It doesn't mean we move God's standard of holiness, but it does mean we love with blood, sweat, tears, and skin on. We listen. We eat. We stay in conversation with people. We pursue dignity and respect.
My friend, I urge us all to remember who is truly on the throne. Let's hold fast to this truth: We can disagree and still be courteous and kind to one another. And let's claim this promise together in 2 Chron. 7:14.
"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
Here is the recipe for national restoration. Boom. Let's do this. Will you join me?
Blessings on the rest of your week!
PS - I don't have it all together. I don't know all the nitty-gritty details of the political arena. Many issues are very complicated, and multi-layered. Both sides are guilty of over-simplifying issues. All I know is, we need God to pour out His presence and wisdom. Come Lord Jesus.