Over the centuries and to this day Christianity has been guilty of much evil. Yet, it also continues to be at the forefront of much good. In its pure essence, Christianity is meant to be a transformative and renewing force in the world. Not through power but through love and grace. Not through force, manipulation and control, but through humble, confident, life-giving presence. Not as soldiers but as servants.
Anytime Christianity seeks power and control, it soon reverts to evil in order to gain and maintain that power and that control. In the process it will lose sight of the very heartbeat of Jesus. This is Christianity at its weakest.
When Christianity seeks to influence and transform, it will do justice, love mercy and walk humbly. This is the true position of strength because it sees, values and loves the other as it claims to see, value and love God.
Why am I bringing this up and what does it have to do with Trump. Well …. sometimes we become fixated on something that doesn’t deserve all the attention. In doing so, we lose sight of the bigger picture. This fixation takes over and can darken everything else. It could almost be compared to an addiction where one thing becomes somewhat of an obsession.
My wife and I were chatting the other night and it dawned on me that Trump had had a hold on me over the last few years. My view of Christianity had become tainted and even overwhelmed by my anger toward the far right fringe groups who supported trump while claiming he was God’s envoy. I’m not even an American but I still carried anger and frustration every day when reading up on Trump follies and the continued attempt by the christian church to justify him. I was angry at how Jesus was put in the back seat. I was angry at the way many Christians were so focused on one thing (like their views on abortion or LGBTQIA+ rights) that they could no longer clearly see the gospel and message of Jesus. I was angry at how narrow the gospel had become for them. I was angry at those who claimed Trump was somehow the messiah himself. I was angry at the obsession with the notion that the elections had been rigged. On January 6th I was sick to my stomach when a group of christians demonstrated for us all to see how low parts of Christianity is willing to stoop in order to have power.
When the dust settled after the inauguration it was like a dark cloud had lifted. In speaking to my wife I realized that while I had been increasingly angry at the Church, and to the point of being ready to be rid of it altogether, I had also been doing something similar to what I was despising. I had become narrowly focused on the folly to the exclusion of the rest. The blogs I read and podcasts I was listening to all focused on the far right actions of christianity. There was nothing there I could identify with. There was nothing there I could encourage. In the process I lost sight of the big picture. I was refusing to see anything other than the negative things that were angering me. Christianity was lost and could not be redeemed. I could hardly speak any life into it because I was filled with frustration, anger, and even hate toward it.
She had tried signalling it to me many months ago when she noticed how increasingly cynical I was becoming toward the church. I couldn’t see it. I justified it and explained it away stating that these people needed to be spoken against. Well, perhaps they did but I was not in a position where I could do so constructively. In condemning the snobby attitudes of others, I was becoming snobbish myself. In condemning the hate I was witnessing, I was becoming increasingly filled with hate toward those I felt were filled with hate. In condemning their narrow views, my view of the church had become narrow as well.
When I recognized this was going on and voiced it, the built up frustration and anger vanished and I could once again see a little more clearly.
While I do maintain that the Church has a lot of smartening up to do if it is to be an effective force in the world today, I can not be of any positive impact if I don’t keep my own heart in check in regards to its failures, and my own.
I offer myself up as an example hoping that it can be an encouragement to you. This post is specific to me and about one thing in particular. For you it can be something else. Life being what it is and the last year having been so strange, is it possible you’ve latched on to one thing and given it more power over you than it deserves? If you were to take a moment and take a step back, can you identify any overwhelming negative feelings and thoughts toward an issue, or someone? Ask yourself, what is the cost of that “obsession” in your daily life? Is it perhaps time for some form of realignment? Is there some cleaning up to do?