Help, O Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing!Psalm 12
The faithful have vanished from the earth!
Neighbors lie to each other,
speaking with flattering lips and deceitful hearts.
Trust is like rebar, it holds the massive structure that is America together.
I have been thinking about faith and politics recently. Not because I have any kind of a political agenda but because I have a faith agenda. My bottom line is, always, encouraging people to follow Jesus. God could care less about if we’re Republican or Democrat or Independent or something else; but God is passionate about love, and grace, and mercy, and justice, and goodness, and kindness, and peace.
Sometimes I agree with ideas and policies set out by the Republican Party. Sometimes I am more on board with what the Democrats have going on. More often than not I find myself at odds with both. I tend to be attracted to initiatives that build consensus, because while I see the value of highlighting differences in order to advance ideological dialogue, America would not even have a constitution absent productive compromise.
Besides, and this is a constant refrain of mine, I understand that I am consistently wrong about a lot of things and I am wrong a lot of the time. Built-in error is a part of the human condition, and with more than 300 million people in this country (representing 300 million shades of wrong) we had better be willing to listen, to learn, to constantly reframe our ideas, to compromise, and to respectfully disagree, or we will be in danger of losing what really makes America great, and that is the sense of mutual trust that – like rebar in any massive structure – has literally held this country together for almost 250 years.
I have never, nor will I ever, advocate for one political party or another; people who say that I do demonstrate a special scope of ignorance that borders on epic! But I will advocate for – as the apostle Paul wrote, “Fix(ing) your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).
Like a virus:
This is a good moment to hone in on the focus of my post today. I have been reading Philip Yancey’s “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” (read “Understanding Grace….”). Yesterday’s section looked at the critical importance of forgiveness in what I would call the delivery system of grace.
Yancey had been writing about the virulent poison of hate, and I couldn’t help but think about today’s politics, the culture wars, and people who troll social media with vitriolic un-grace and personal acrimony.
“Politics deals with externals: borders, wealth, crimes. Authentic forgiveness deals with the evil in a person’s heart, something for which politics has no cure. Virulent evil (racism, hatred) spreads through society like an airborne disease; one cough affects a whole busload. The cure, like a vaccine, must be applied one person at a time. When moments of grace do occur, the world must pause, fall silent, and indeed acknowledge that forgiveness offers a kind of cure.”Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace
Hatred, virulence, mistrust, personal acrimony – all of this is spreading like an airborne disease. But the cure, as Yancey testifies, must be administered like a vaccine, one person at a time.
This is cause for both overwhelm and hope. Hope because each one of us holds the key. Overwhelm because I cannot spray grace into a crowd and move on to the next one.
This is our job, friends, our responsibility, our opportunity. One person at a time; one relationship; one miracle of healing.
Or, put another way, light one candle and the darkness is suddenly not so complete. – DEREK
Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed,Psalm 12
preserving them forever from this lying generation,
even though the wicked strut about,
and evil is praised throughout the land.