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Everywhere I turn, life feels big. I’m hearing the same from my friends—big struggles, and lots of them. When I speak at events, women share their burdens with tears in their eyes. And almost every day, I open an email with a story that breaks my heart. It’s everywhere. It’s everyone.
The heat has been turned up.
I’m not one who believes the Enemy is behind every bad day or tough situation. He doesn’t deserve that much credit or attention. But I do believe that evil is alive and active, and we are embracing it more than turning from it. Rather than peace, there is deep-seeded anger. Instead of collaboration there is division. Where is our empathy? Where is grace and mercy? When are we going to give each other permission to be different without considering it a threat to who we are?
Where is our civility? Our commonality? Our country?
Everything feels different. Here’s what I mean…
Never in my lifetime had our country ever been so polarized during an election season. It overwhelmed our sense of hope. Name calling. Lies. Scandals. Dirty tricks. Immorality. The political climate left us emotionally and mentally exhausted. And angry. It became an us against them mentality, and it left us divided in heart and mind. When the other candidate’s shortcomings were exposed, we celebrate. We cheered. And we pointed fingers and jeered.
How did we get to that place?
The truth is, hate is so real and so close. It’s not terrorists in 3rd world countries that scare us as much as people in our own communities who condemn our faith. It’s becoming more and more unpopular to align ourselves with Jesus because many consider His teachings narrow-minded and offensive. Wait, what? His entire message is love.
How did everything get this twisted?
We are also watching churches redefine faith—adding to and subtracting from the Bible—and ignoring the Holy Word of God as a finished and complete work. It’s a scary reality, really. Then there are leaders in the faith who are watering down the Truth, and even scarier… we are enamored with them.
Christian celebrity has gotten out of hand and if we’re not careful, we risk following them into beliefs that are not godly. They are human and fallible. They don’t have special access to God, or hold divine secrets not available to us, nor does God love them more than He loves you and me.
Why are we hanging on their every word?
As the church, we are nervous. Rather than stand for truth, we are passively watching doors open that were never meant to be opened. We’re scared to speak out. Our faith is being diluted. It’s being challenged. It’s being criticized. And it’s confusing. We wonder how we’re supposed to respond so we can keep the peace and skirt judgement. I know confrontation is hard, but we have convictions, right?
What has to happen to make us stand up for Truth?
I know it sometimes if feel safer to hide in a hole.
… to keep our opinions to ourselves.
… to hear the nonsense but say nothing. (although sometimes, it’s wisdom)
… to circle the wagons and focus only on our little corner of the world, drowning out the world.
But friends… we need you.
And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the light illumines the entire house. You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it. (Matthew 5:14-16 VOICE)
You and I are here for a reason.
We cannot saturate ourselves in the people, policies and phony offerings of the world… because it’s discouraging.
We can’t live discouraged… because it makes us ineffective.
We can’t allow ourselves to be ineffective… because it squashes our God-given purpose.
We cannot live purposeless lives… because we have something the world needs.
And what the world needs right now… is the good news.
Friend, that good news lives in you… it’s in how you live your life, and in your testimony of His goodness, and in how you display the fruit of the Spirit.
I’m not suggesting you attend every argument you’re invited to. You don’t have to stand on the street corner waving signs. Not every battle is yours to fight. And don’t respond to others with critical and judgmental hearts.
But please… please… please… shine Jesus through your words and actions.
Because scripture promises it will point others to God.
And He is what our nation—our world— desperately needs.
Don’t let the state of the world overwhelm you. Instead… overwhelm the state of the world with Jesus.
So straighten your back. Wipe away your tears. Take a deep breath. Find your resolve. Set your eyes on Jesus.
And go be the light of the world.