Now that the polls are closed, the results are in, and we are finally in the post-election season, I feel like I and other Christians need a few reminders of what it means to represent Jesus in the world. It would be too easy to get caught up in the post-election media hype and forget who we are. But let’s not forget that we are supposed to be different. So, whether you supported Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or a third party, don’t forget Who we are called to serve first and foremost.
With that said, before you join in the various post-election “discussions” about the results, here are a few scriptures that should shape how we act and what we say. I have decided to leave out any commentary on my part and just let the Word of God stand on its own. My challenge is that each of us lets Scripture examine us, confront us, and change us.
Last week when I posted part one of this blog in relation to the Dallas shooting, I didn’t expect to have to add Baton Rouge to the title. Not only did we have another violent attack this week, it seems that hate and racism are on the rise. In addition, social media seems to be a political battleground without a hint of any attempt to understand or discuss the situation; it’s just one side lobbing criticism, accusation, and judgement towards the other side.
People seem hell-bent on proving which political candidate has plagiarized the most (as if that will magically wake up the other side and they’ll switch candidates). Of course, that’s not the motivation at all. It’s just one more example of people mindlessly posting criticism and judgement with no redemptive purpose whatsoever.
As Texas is recovering from the violence on our doorstep, many people have responded in what seems like the only way they know – on social media. In the past week, there have been many uplifting stories, blogs, articles and posts on social media. Unfortunately, those have been overshadowed by the people who are determined to prove that they are no different than the coward that is responsible for the Dallas shooting that killed 5 police officers at a peaceful demonstration on Thursday, July 7.
There are some that are determined to blame everything on racism. Others have labeled all cops as abusive murderers. Still, more are posting ridiculous memes and questionable statistics about black on black violence. Special interest groups are posting, marching, and protesting. Others are reacting against what they assume is the agenda of those special interest groups. We need more gun control, less gun control, and everything in between. Unfortunately, the end result is still more hatred, bigotry and prejudice!
The problem is, most of the people I see posting this type of content are Christians. I mean, come on! Where is our love? Where is God’s grace in all of this? How can these things even remotely represent the One who died, so that we might live? If you’ve actually read this far, let me challenge you to go back through your Facebook news feed and examine your posts in light of Jesus’ call to love our neighbors as ourselves. Ask yourself, “Does my presence on social media represent the heart of Christ?”
“This has got to be one of the stupidest things I have ever done.” Don’t get me wrong, I have an extremely long list, but this one ranks at the top. It was about 15 years ago, and I was sitting on the platform about to preach at a friend’s church with tears very inconveniently running down my face.
I’m about to give you some advice that I don’t actually recommend you follow, at least not if you enjoy comfort and blissful ignorance. I mean do it, because it’s good advice. But don’t do it, it’s not a good idea.
My Story: Overcoming Pride
When Karen and I first started Grace Community Church almost 20 years ago, my mother gave me a book by Andrew Murray simply titled, “Humility.” (Think she was trying to tell me something?) A few years later, I finally got around to reading that book. It is a really good book, and quite convicting. Like many of you, I’ve pretty much struggled with overcoming pride, to one degree or another, all of my life. Murray’s book inspired me to finally try to do something about it.
And that’s when the insanity began…
Well, last week, on May 4th, America was basically left with two choices in the 2016 presidential election; Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton…or so it would seem. Since then, journalists, bloggers and social media have all blown up over the issue. There are articles and blog posts that claim Trump is the best candidate. However, there also seem to be just as many articles and blog posts that claim Hillary is the best candidate. Then there are those that despise both candidates, and so your vote will be for the lesser of two evils. To make things even more complicated are the blog posts that advise a refusal to vote at all. With all these options, it’s hard to decide what would be the best thing to do. I really have no idea how I’m going to vote. I’m probably just going to write in Lewis Smith (an eighth grade history teacher) and be done with it.
The hard part about this presidential election is the moral implications of voting for either major candidate. I don’t think anyone is trying to argue that either Trump or Hillary are more Christian than the other. Though it seems that there are plenty of bloggers and articles that claim to know the most “Christian” thing to do in voting. They will go on about the ethics of each candidate, how big of a liar each one is, and where they stand on various issues that affect Christians. I mean, to vote for Trump is of course to vote for a tyrant, a liar, and a bully that will most likely get us into the next world war. But to vote for Hillary is to also vote for a liar, someone who has committed treason, who wants to kill babies, and take away our guns. One blogger actually made a case for voting for Trump rather than not voting at all, because if Trump is the person that God wants to put into power, to not vote would be to resist God’s will, and therefore sin (as if that blogger knows that Trump is who God has chosen to be our president).
The thing about it is, when it comes to the presidential election, there really isn’t one decision that is more “Christian” than the other. Just like there isn’t one political party that is more Christian than the other (sorry Republicans, it’s true, get over it). So while there is no clear biblical direction when it comes to our vote in this presidential election, there is an extremely clear biblical direction when it comes to how every Christian should conduct themselves after the vote. This is so black and white in Scripture, that a refusal to do so would be to sin against God. There is no way around it, and no philosophy that can justify any other action than what the Bible clearly calls us to.
It’s interesting, my wife and all three of my girls like to write. All of them have their own blogs, and all of them are very talented in what to do. So I thought it would be fun to have each of them do a guest post for me. My youngest daughter is currently pursuing a creative writing degree at The University of Arkansas. She’s probably the most serious writer in our family and plans to pursue writing as a career. Lately her blog posts have been extremely good, so I asked her to write a guest post for me. I asked her to write about what it was like to grow up as a preacher’s daughter. Ours is not a typical “preacher’s household” and I figured her take on things would be a lot of fun and definitely unique. Of course she did not disappoint. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. If you do, you can you can check out more of her writing at www.madisonlawson.com.
So you’re a preacher’s daughter?
“You’re a cliché preacher’s daughter.” Am I? I guess I am. Except what does that mean? What kind of cliché? Or better yet, what kind of preacher? I decided to look up “Preacher daughter clichés” and got an Urban Dictionary definition. We all know how accurate, dependable and factual Urban Dictionary is, so this definition must be correct.
Preacher’s Daughter Syndrome:
An affliction that is the result of overprotective, usually Christian upbringing. Due to being taught that everything is sinful, upon reaching the age of puberty and learning of unwholesome activities for the first time, sufferers have no common sense on the issue. This results in sexual promiscuity, drug dependence, shallow personality, and other personality defects.
I’m officially taking offense to anyone telling me I’m a cliché preacher’s daughter (and that includes myself). I’d like to think I don’t have a drug dependence or shallow personality. I mean, who am I to say what defects my personality has? But I’d still say I don’t fit this definition.
You probably hear a lot about cliché preacher’s kids and how they’ve “gone off the deep end” but how often do you hear it from the source?
From the very beginning God has responded to the sin of humanity with . . . well . . . amazing grace.
I often wonder, if Jesus walked the earth today; would we accept him, would we approve of his actions, would we accept his friends, would we even recognize him for who he was? Because here’s the deal; Jesus didn’t follow many of the religious traditions of the day. And he probably wouldn’t follow many of ours either. Plus, his choice of friends was a bit…sketchy.
I’m in favor of plastic surgery – sorry…cosmetic surgery – and not just because I am guy. A friend of mine once said that if it’s ok to work out and wear make-up to make yourself more attractive then why isn’t plastic surgery ok? I couldn’t agree more. It’s not the contents that make it sin, it’s in the display (so set your objections aside and let me make my point). If a woman (or a man) wants to have cosmetic surgery to make themselves more attractive and it helps their self-esteem, then more power to them. I’m not going to judge.
Let’s face it, most of us aren’t Toys-R-U kids and we’ll never be Peter Pan. We’ve got to grow up sometime. Last year we took our youngest daughter to college. It was a wonderful and excruciating experience. While there were lots of tears on our drive home, Karen and I are so proud of our three daughters and who they are growing up to become. We’ve always prayed that for all our kids – for them to grow up, to mature and to one day leave the house and become “productive members of society.” It’s a natural part of life.