Scrolling Facebook this morning, I came across the following quote as a friend’s status:
From Dave Pell (not-Christian): Religious Christians have hitched their wagon to an unrepentant heathen like Trump, proving that power dwarfs all other belief systems.
Talk about a punch in the gut. As I later commented, “This quote is staying with me this morning. It’s heavy and hurtful, because I fear that right now, the Church as a whole is not doing a very good job of portraying the Jesus we believe in.”
Later, I kept going back to another comment someone else had made: “I was just thinking about this topic in these exact terms. The extent to which the Christians in question here are oblivious to what they sound like to people nonbelievers or people of other faiths make me more secure in my apostasy. The witness of the church in this political environment (admittedly as mediated by Facebook) makes me glad I’m no longer in it.”
Do you see that, Church? Do we understand what that means? The world is watching. People have left the faith and are glad they did so because of our words, our actions, our attitudes.
Lord, have mercy.
To be quite honest – saying something in times like these is hard for me. As a kindred heart and sweet friend recently said, “I inevitably toss and turn every night because of what I post during the day…I know that my words will be misheard, misjudged and (worst of all) perhaps hurt the people I love and respect most…Yet silence tears up my heart in another way. So I continue to clumsily attempt to articulate what I feel while acknowledging that those who disagree with me have hearts full of compassion as well- we just disagree how best to express and articulate it.”
YES. Yesyesyes. She totally hit the nail on the head. The not saying anything when my spirit is burning inside me is just as painful as my fear of being misunderstood. I have spoken up, been flamed, and then quickly retreated. Because, well, INFJ. Hurt relationships hurt my heart. So I stay silent sometimes when I shouldn’t. (Just as sometimes I speak when I should stay silent. Thank the Lord for grace, as this walk with him in today’s world is messy and hard sometimes.)
But here is what I want to say. Rather, here is what my dear friend said, and I am using her words with permission because she speaks the truth gently, eloquently, and in love, yet also firmly and with conviction. I admire that about her. So often, my voice gets clouded by emotion (again, it’s the INFJ in me), but she communicates thoughtfully here what my own heart echoes.
The temptation to compromise with powers that violate of our conscience plagues us all. I wished and still wish more Christians would denounce the immorality of the Trump person, persona and policy. Even if they voted for him! Even if they support some of his measures and messages. Speak SOME truth to power. Hold him accountable. Draw a line in the sand when you can! Since he garnered 81% of the evangelical vote I feel evangelicals are uniquely obligated to hold his feet to the fire.
The good news is that “at least a hundred evangelical leaders are doing just that, not to mention giant swaths of the broader Christian community.”
Church, my bleeding heart is heavy more often than not in today’s age, but I am also emboldened by hope. Hope that more of us will use their voices to bring heaven here to earth, and above all, hope in Christ himself.
I want to end this by reminding us of the story of Esther and, more specifically, Mordecai’s message to her:
“If you persist in staying silent at a time like this, help and deliverance will arrive for the Jews from someplace else; but you and your family will be wiped out. Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.”
Can I, in good conscience, persist in staying silent during such a time as this? Can you?
Image from ICEJ USA