There, I said it.
Is there another word in our society at the moment that can cause as much immediate rancor and hostility as this one? Its mere mention can cause an outbreak of consternation that will ripple through the interwebs.
This word has caused me to avoid my Facebook timeline and my Twitter feed lately. The sarcasm, anger and outright hate has been pretty thick lately. Everyone is up in arms about the Affordable Care Act and the subsequent government shutdown.
And I get it. I am worried about what my insurance bill will look like in 3 months. I think our government officials should be able to work together and keep everything running smoothly. My father and quite a number of friends have been unable to go to work because they have been labeled “non-essential”. And they’re not getting paid. That’s quite the double gut-punch, right there.
So my first reaction has been cynicism. I’m not surprised that our government shut down. I often doubt if our politicians have our best interest in mind. Sarcasm and frustration have been evident in my words and attitudes. And I’m not alone. Take a look through your Facebook timeline or email inbox or on every other television channel.
We have been let down by those who are supposed to provide for us. We’re angry and frustrated because we have better hope for our nation. These are difficult times to be certain.
But I am bothered by the reaction of Christians to this situation. No, let me be more honest — I have been disappointed in my reaction. If we are “people of faith”, what does that faith look like when faced with troubles and disappointments? Surely not anger, malice or insults.
A simple reminder changes my thoughts: My faith is not found in any human institution or government. My citizenship lies with Jesus.
I am a proud American. I have so many family & friends who have served this country with honor and protected it with their lives. I choose to live here because I see no better place in the world.
But I follow Jesus. I follow him because I believe it is the best way to live. I believe that his Kingdom is where we can be the best versions of ourselves because it is he who made us.
And I have faith that his way can solve the problems of this broken world.
So when my government lets me down, I should be neither shocked nor fearful. Because I do not rely on the powers of this world to solve its problems.
That’s right. As the living, breathing presence of Jesus Christ in this world, I rely on my brothers and sisters to show love, kindness and mercy. We trust that in tough circumstances that we will stand together and love each other and provide for each other and heal each other’s wounds.
Not because it is our civic duty or our tax responsibility. But because we truly love one another as Christ loves us.
This is not some pie-in-the-sky, Pollyanna faith that somehow, some way God will make everything better one day. It is a faith that by really following the way of Jesus that we can take care of each other. That when you need something, I will provide it if I can. That we will share the load together.
That we will be the solution to each other’s problems.
My faith in God is shown not by simply saying everything will be alright but by living as if God’s way is actually better. Because it is.
So let us stop with the complaining and insults as if we are surprised that the world’s way is failing us. Let us instead be the solution to someone else’s problem. Let us stop complaining that the world’s ways are broken and truly walk the path Jesus laid for us.
Someone else needs you to be the solution to their struggles. Go be that solution today. Because that’s what faith really looks like.