A Different View

In the past two months, I’ve been aware of several eye problems occurring among my friends.

One friend had cataract surgery in both eyes. Another’s son experienced scratched corneas in both eyes. Although his eyes are now healed, at the time the doctor considered the possibility of a cornea transplant. Yet another friend’s husband woke up one morning with burning eyes due to an allergic reaction. Finally, for several years, my husband has been receiving injections in his eyes to thwart loss of sight.

Sight is precious, isn’t it? We do everything we can to protect it. Eye drops, glasses, laser surgery, cataract surgery…and so much more.

We go to such extremes to protect a temporary ability.  Sad to say, most of us don’t spend the same effort to cultivate and develop our spiritual sight.A Different View

What would happen if we began to view people and circumstances from God’s perspective?

Let’s start with this presidential election…and with Christians. It’s time for a different view.

Divisiveness and rancor are out of control. Name-calling is the norm. And that’s not just during the campaign. The election is over and the name-calling continues. As if that weren’t enough, add gloating to the mix.

Gloating for supporters of the victorious candidate.

Shock and dismay for supporters of the candidate who lost.

Liberals dismissing conservatives. Conservatives despising liberals.

Pundits agree middle-America was tired of being overlooked, while minorities are fearful of a return to the good ol’ days…which weren’t all that good for them.

The division is just as strong among Christians.

How could you vote for a pro-abortion baby killer?

How could you vote for a misogynist?

How could you support a liar?

How could you support such a pompous ego?

And on and on it goes.

I find myself wondering how God views Hillary and Donald. How He views their supporters. How He views you and me.

I have a feeling that, in His eyes, we’re more alike than different. Self-righteous. Proud. Critical. Sinners.

Both candidates were severely flawed.

Rather than tearing down President-elect Trump, wouldn’t it be better to pray for him?

Instead of gloating over Secretary Clinton’s loss, couldn’t we take a moment to put ourselves in her shoes and recall the pain of a devastating loss?

The very nature of an election is that someone will win and someone will lose. It happens in a presidential election every 4 years. Surely both sides understand the election could have easily tipped in the opposite direction, reversing both the gloating and resentment.

If we’re old enough to vote, we’re old enough to know that the right reaction by both winners and losers is a gracious response. Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and President Obama have set public examples in this regard. The election is over. It’s time for the rhetoric to stop.

Unfortunately, in our haste to take a stand against those who disagree with us, many of us have sacrificed relationships with family and friends on the altar of political expediency.

Instead of labeling other Christians as the enemy, isn’t it better to stand shoulder to shoulder against the real enemy? Against the one who works to blind the spiritual eyes of those who need the Savior? Against the one who strives to prevent them from receiving the gift of salvation freely offered to both Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives?

Political victories are temporary. Gloating today will restrict opportunities to share the gospel tomorrow.

For the record, Jesus will return to set everything right. But as someone once said, Jesus will not return on Air Force One. He will not return on a donkey or an elephant.

Until that day, will you and I ask God for the spiritual sight to see others from His perspective? To respond to both victory and defeat with the assurance that He is sovereign? And finally, to trust that He is always working for the ultimate good of His people and His ultimate glory!

Now is the time to live out the words of our Pledge of Allegiance:

“one nation, under God, indivisible…”

Jesus showed us the way to a different view. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35 NIV). Where better to begin than in the Church?

When Our Foundations are Shaken

Christians are feeling betrayed.

Motivated by a desire to be good citizens, many of us have taken an active interest in the welfare of our country. We’ve participated in the political process. We’ve supported candidates we thought would lead this nation according to godly principles.

But no matter who you identify with—right or left, conservative or progressive, republican or democrat—it doesn’t matter. Right now, we all feel betrayed because every candidate for president is fatally flawed.

What’s a Christian to do?

Perhaps the first thing we need to do is evaluate why we’re feeling so betrayed.

foundationsWhy is the depth of our disappointment causing normally civil people to spew uncivil comments about the supposed “enemy” in public forums?

Why are we desperately trying to justify the support of equally blemished candidates?

Why are we so divided among ourselves that we bear no resemblance to Jesus’s request to the Father “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21 ESV).

Then we wonder why the world doesn’t believe that the Father sent the Son. The reason is as close as the nearest mirror.

When did we fall for the lie that the answer to our nation’s troubles is found in a politician or political party? Or that the victory of “our” political party is of utmost priority?

It’s time we—Christians—regardless of denomination or church affiliation, remember we are citizens of a heavenly country before we are citizens of this earthly country. Our U.S. citizenship transcends all other loyalties with one crucial exception:

“Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior,
the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 3:20 ESV).

Regardless of who wins in November, Christ is still the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

Regardless of who wins in November, this nation will continue for as long—or as short—as the Lord wills it.

Regardless of who wins in November, our culture will grow increasingly hostile to Christianity. Christians in other countries shake their head at what we call persecution, knowing we have yet to experience the real thing.

We have been commanded to be salt and light in a corrupt and dark world. “But if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet” (Matthew 5:13 ESV).

How sad that in social media and public arguments, Christians have, indeed lost their saltiness. There is often little or no difference between comments made by Christians and those made by unbelievers in attacking the opposition. Name-calling, vulgarities, and false statements abound…by Christians! “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing….these things ought not to be so” (James 3:10 ESV).

It would be nice if we had ideal candidates to vote for in this, or any, election. But we live in a broken world that is getting worse, not better. There isn’t a candidate alive who can stop the downward spiral. Perhaps God has allowed the current pool of fatally flawed candidates to shake our faulty foundations and remind us the solution to our problems will never be found in human government.

If we forget who we are and whose we are when our foundations are shaken, then shame on us. Of course, we need to do our homework and support candidates who best reflect our values. But if we forget our identity in the political process, then even if our candidate wins, we will still lose. And no candidate can ever fix that.