CHRISTIANS, Put Down Your Stones AGAIN

Here we are again…the day after an election with a narrow gap between two candidates for President.  It is a place we are all too familiar.  This is not new for us.  It is definitely a sign of where we are as a people – split right down the middle.  Divisiveness never seems to turn out well.  If we could be divided on a candidate but still come together as a united people, this would be fine.  But if we are honest, this isn’t happening.  It didn’t happen last time and it is unlikely to happen again.  I wrote a blog on this day after the election 4 years ago as this same scenario was playing out (copied below).  It seems just as important today as it did then.  But I share this with a bit less hope than I had then.  Christians have continued to cast stones in an effort to show “the right way” (beat it into them if they won’t listen??).  Those of us who claim the way of Christ have often shown anything but love for anyone who thinks, votes, or believes differently.  And it just cannot continue.  

So I am up early this morning with concern.  It isn’t over who will actually win the election (although we all want our candidate to win).  It isn’t over the future of our country.  I am up early this morning concerned about those of us who love Jesus.  Since the vote is split in the middle, this means those of faith are also split.  Essentially, you are likely sitting on the same pew or in the same place of worship or the same park bench with someone who did not vote like you.  We have friends and family members who did not vote the same.  We have coworkers who are divided on their vote.  And if we claim the Christian faith, we must find a way forward together.  There has been damage – words have been said and actions have been shown – and all too many were really ugly.  But Jesus’ love is the great repairer.  

Repairing does not mean changing everyone to be like me.  Repairing means we change to become more like Christ – and neither political party or candidate is Christ.  You can be on both sides of the spectrum and still love Jesus.  One more time…YOU CAN BE ON BOTH SIDES OF A POLITICAL SPECTRUM AND STILL LOVE JESUS.  So I still believe the only way forward is to put down our stones and work together to share the love of Christ.  We cannot cast stones and show love at the same time.  And the Gospel of John reads that Jesus believed the one without sin was the only with the ability to cast a stone.  That means there won’t be any stone casting from anyone who follows him – there simply can’t be.  

So, one more time – let’s drop our stones and find healing in the love of Jesus Christ.  Christians, let’s lead the way – not in contempt or bullying – but in love.  This is the only way.  

Put Down Your Stone…A Call to Christians (published November 9, 2016)

It is the day after the Presidential Election.  We are a nation divided.  The narrow victory certainly tells many stories about how our country feels.  There has been so much divisiveness and dissension.  It has been a time of turmoil as we have watched candidates debate, argue, and even fist fight.  With such a narrow victory, the next president certainly has his work cut out for him to unite this country.  That is all stating the obvious.

What is also obvious is the underlying current of hate and anger that has been simmering and occasionally spewing to the top.  There has been name calling and people made to feel belittled for supporting one candidate or the other.  There have been phrases like…if you vote for ____, then you are just stupid (or an idiot or whatever other negative connotation you can come up with).  Phrases like…you can’t possibly be a Christian and vote for _____.  Or, who in their right mind would vote for _____.  Honestly, it has felt more like being on the playground in middle school than being adults “debating” the issues for the future of our country.  It definitely is a sign that many Americans lack the basic skill of effective communication and instead, lean towards bullying and fear mongering.

The most disheartening of it all for me is that much of this hate, anger, belittling, and casting of fear has come from my Christian brothers and sisters.  On social media, on the TV, in ads, and in person, one cannot tell if a person is a Christian or not by actions or by their love.  I have heard just as many negative comments and hateful spewing from Christians as from anyone else.  And since Jesus wasn’t running (or anyone who even resembles his actions or values), there should not have been a “Christian vote.”  Since the vote was nearly 50/50, that would suggest that there are Christians who love the Lord with all their heart on BOTH sides.  What a concept.  It has been difficult to see the love of Christ show up in anything that has been done over the last few months.  Apparently when the heat is turned up, Christians don’t seem to react any different than anyone else…and that is painful and sad.

So, the election is over (and we all say a collective THANK GOD).  But damage has been done.  Christians, it is time for us to drop the stones that we have been casting and find unity.  We must find a way to come together as God’s people to do God’s work REGARDLESS of who is president or whether or not we voted for him.  For me, it starts with humility, looking to Christ as my guide.  We must seek forgiveness, both from God for the way we have acted, and from our neighbors for the stones that have been cast.  We must turn our hearts and minds to Christ and to LOVING OTHERS.   We cannot join hands in this world while holding stones.  We cannot offer a helping hand or help a brother or sister up while carrying the stones.  We cannot be the hands and feet of Christ while burdened down with our anger and fear and hatred.  We have to drop it all in surrender to the ONE that can bring us together.  Regardless of whether or not this country unites, Christians are called to be different, to act different, and to love different.

Brothers and Sisters, may we drop our stones today seeking forgiveness, joining hands with our neighbors in love and unity, and moving forward doing the work of Christ.  If you are looking for a change in this country…this is where it really begins…

And may it begin with me.

A Place Where Stones Belong

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