The poor will suffer

The government shutdown drags on.  Some 800,000 government employees are either working without pay or are furloughed.  800,000 people are having their lives changed through no fault of their own.  Actually the number is bigger when you consider spouses and children of these employees.  The number gets bigger when you take into account the financial impact 800,000 people not receiving a pay check has beyond their own bank accounts.

I heard a story on the radio about the numerous private companies that contract with the government to do work – they aren’t getting paid either, but their situation is worse – there will be no back pay for these folks.

And when the ripple effect if fully felt, the businesses that the employees of contractors and government employees go to and spend money at are hurting also.

The ripple effect goes far beyond that though.

The people who suffer the most are the poor.  They usually are the ones who end up getting the shaft when there is a debate about money and how it is spent.  Their voices are often silenced or ignored.

That’s what happens when the operating theology and philosophy is defined as the ends justify the means.  When the ends justify the means is the guiding principle of decision-making, then people become commodities and collateral – pawns to be used to get to the end desired.  When the ends justify the means is the belief system for making decisions – whether pertaining to government, religion, business, sports, or anything else – then people are transformed into a statistic or a weapon to be used to obtain the desired end.

The ends justify the means dehumanizes people.  It looks to Social Darwinism as a model. It believes in might makes right and that the strong survive.  It silences democratic means of making decisions in favor of winning at all costs.

The ends justify the means is antithetical to Christ and Christianity.  The ends justify the means isn’t an official heresy of the church, but it should be considered as heresy.  It is not compatible with Christ – it is in direct opposition to Christ.

Christ didn’t directly reject this theology – he didn’t say the words.  But everything about Christ rejects the idea of the ends justifying the means.  Christ rejects the theology of the ends justifying the means when he went to the cross.  He rejected this heresy in his parables.  He rejected this heresy in his call to discipleship.  He rejected this theology in every aspect of his life and being.

In Matthew 25:31-46 we hear what Jesus values – feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, visiting the sick and imprisoned.  These are not the strong.  These are not the mighty.  These are the poor and outcast, those without power.  These are the people who are a drain to those who care about the ends justifying the means.  These are the people who are in the way to those who embrace the ends justifying the means.  These are the people who suffer when there is an impasse to economic decisions.

If we were to re-write Matthew 25:31-46 to capture the theology of the ends justifying the means, it might sound something like this:

Jesus said: “I was hungry and you told me to lose weight.  I was thirsty and you told me go buy water.  I was naked and you told me there were clothing rooms around and to stop being lazy – get a job.  I was a stranger and you told me to get out of your country.  I was sick and you told me I should only get the health care I could afford.  I was in prison and you told me I deserved to be there.”

As long as the ends justify the means is our operating theology and foundation, our nation will become poorer, the poor will suffer, we will continue to reject Christ and suffer the consequences of that rejection.  The ends justify the means is ultimately a belief that we can save ourselves, and that we will do whatever it takes to earn that salvation for ourselves.  It is selfish.  It is heartless.  It is sinful.  It will fail.  My only hope is that it doesn’t take too many people down with it who are innocent victims of this sinful theology.  God have mercy on us.

 

What I would do with $5.7 Billion

The current debate around the partial government shutdown is centered on one thing – The President’s “request” for $5.7 billion for border security with includes money for construction of a wall along the southern border of the US – or at least several hundred miles of some kind of wall/fence/barrier.

As I’ve said before, I can’t speak to what is in America’s best interest when it comes to border security.  It is not a subject that I have any expertise in.  On the face of it, I don’t see how a wall would be effective given the amount of money that is being proposed for it.  But this really isn’t a post about a the merits or criticisms about the wall on the border.

Instead, this a post on what I would do with $5.7 billion if I were in charge of how it could be spent.

I would use the money to carry out Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:35-36:

…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.

That’s right, I’d use $5.7 billion dollars to feed people.  You can feed a whole lot of people for a long time with that much money.

I would use it to welcome strangers.  I would hire more immigration judges and lawyers, build welcome centers, have people at ports of entry that would walk people through the processes for immigration.

I would use it to clothe the naked.  And I would use it to provide a lot of laundry for the poor who are challenged with cleanliness.

I would use it for health care.  To assist people in paying for needed medication and procedures.  To provide insurance that is needed so people don’t lose their homes due to a health bill.

I would use it for prison reform.  To change us from punishing people to rehabilitating people so that when they come out of prison they are ready to be a contributing member of society, that the stigma of serving time would be done.

I would extend beyond the strict confines of Jesus’ statement also.  I would use the money to provide housing for people.  $5.7 billion pays for a great deal of shelters, tiny homes, converted malls and stores, etc.  I would follow a housing first approach.

I would use it to pay off student loan debts for many students who are saddled with crippling debt.

In short, I would use $5.7 billion to improve the lives of the people in direct and meaningful ways.

How would you use $5.7 billion?

Idols

You shall make for yourselves no idols and erect no carved images or pillars, and you shall not place figured stones in your land, to worship at them; for I am the Lord your God.

(Leviticus 26:1, NRSV)

The Bible is pretty clear that God doesn’t like idols.  Leviticus is just one citation.  Ezekiel is chock full of Scripture verses condemning idols.  You can also find Scripture about idols in Exodus, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Daniel, 2 Kings, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians, Acts, and Revelation.  And that’s just the short list.  There are other books of the Bible that talk about idolatry.  The list is pretty extensive.

What is an idol?

One definition states that an idol is an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship.

Why doesn’t God like idols?  Because idols are things we place above or equal to God in importance.

Idols demand unquestioning loyalty and devotion from us.  Idols offer us false promises.  Idols lie to us.  Idols demand human sacrifice.  Idols have high priests who speak on their behalf.  Idols demand our attention.  Idols demand money and resources.  Idols don’t like to be exposed for what they are.

Idols lead to death and destruction.

The question is this:  What are the idols we worship?  Do we dare name them?  Do we dare expose them for what they are?  Do we dare admit that we each have idols that we worship and set above God?

What are the idols of our nation?  Of our culture?  Do we dare examine the nation and culture?  Are we willing to admit that we are obsessed with idols?

You are probably alright with this article to this point. You may be even naming idols that you recognize in society. Talking about idols in general is safe. But what happens when we name our own idols? Now it’s personal. We don’t like it. Do we dare name our own idols? Do we dare read on when our own idols are exposed for what they truly are?

Here are some idols that I observe in our nation and culture – some of which I am guilty of worshiping also.  Before you blast off an angry message to me because I touched your idol, let what I am saying sink in.

  • Being right.  This idol demands so much from us and promises us greatly.  Except the promise is empty.  The sacrifice is relationships we have that are destroyed as we seek to please this idol.
  • Intelligence.  This idol gives us the hope that it can solve all of our problems and can make us better than other people who aren’t as smart.  The sacrifice is the dehumanizing effect on other people.
  • Production.  This idol attempts to dictate our value and worth based on what we do.  Those that produce more are worth more according to this idol.  The sacrifice we offer this idol is those in poverty who can’t produce more.
  • Political Party.  This idol promises us answers to all our challenges and salvation if only we give our loyalty to it.  The sacrifice is our attention, our money, and our energy that the party demands.  The sacrifice is a mind that is no longer free to think, but only accept whatever the party says is true.  Truth is sacrificed.
  • Guns.  This idol touches many nerves for so many.  It offers us a promise of safety and security in a dangerous world.  The sacrifice that is demanded is paid in the death of so many.
  • Big Government.  This idol promises to take care of us.  The sacrifice is freedom.  The sacrifice is resources.
  • Security.  This idol takes on many forms – a wall, military, etc.  It offers us control over our lives by removing unpleasant and dangerous individuals and groups.  The sacrifice is freedom, diversity, environmental cost, and more.
  • Abortion.  This idol promises liberty for the body and solving a problem.  The sacrifice is paid in human lives.
  • Money.  This idol tells us the lie that we can’t live without it.  That it has to make the decisions.  That we never have enough of it.  The sacrifice is our health and relationships in order to get more of it.  It one of the pervasive idols throughout history.

This list could go on and on.  I’m sure you don’t like that I have named some things as idols.  I’m sure that you think I’m wrong in some cases or that my reasoning is far off.  I’m sure you can come up arguments to show how very wrong I am. I’m certainly open to that possibility.  But I’m curious – are you upset that I have named something important to you as an idol?  Facing idols, especially the idols that we worship, that we place above God, is not easy to look at.  It is not easy to look in the mirror and say that I am sinful and have made an idol more important than God.  There isn’t a person who as has been alive who is innocent of this.  Including me.  Including you.

Idols demand our worship and attention. Idols are equal opportunity false gods.  They don’t care what your politics are or your beliefs.  Idols strike left and right equally.  And demand just as much sacrifice.

What would you add to this list?  What are the lies and the sacrifice that are paid for these idols?

As Christians, we are called to reject idols.  But more importantly, to turn our attention and devotion to God.  It is God who makes promises that are kept.   It is God who speaks truth to us.  It is God who tells us the truth that there will be difficulties in life.  It is God who promises to walk with us in these dark valleys.  Idols can never fulfill these promises.  God does.  Every day.  In so many ways.  When idols are put aside, our eyes have clearer vision to see God.  When idols are put aside, our ears are open to hear God.  When idols are put aside, our heart is softened to recognize God in our midst.

 

 

What is Love?

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging symbol. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

(Source: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, NRSV)

Love is so much.  It is much more than what our culture thinks it is.  Our culture has reduced love to a fleeting emotion tied to sex.  But love goes way beyond that.

Love doesn’t impose itself on others.  It doesn’t use force or seek power.

When we do ministry, we are supposed to approach people with love.  And that can be difficult, especially when people choose a different path – a path in which they attempt or are able to force something on someone else.  A path in which they try to exert control on their life or the lives of others.  This never ends well.

Live is patient because love waits.  Love is invitational.  And the invitation is sent out.  And when the invitation is sent out, love waits patiently for the response.  This is the nature of God and who we are called to be and how we are to follow God.  We are to follow love and with love.

Instead…

Name calling.  Profanity.  Labeling.  Pointing fingers.  Hunkering down and digging in.  Doubling down.  Saving face.

These are all too common occurrences that describe our political environment.  They are the methods of our belief that the ends justify the means, that the strong survive, and that might makes right.  They are the hallmarks of empire theology – a theology that lays claim to its adherents, tells its followers lies and false promises, and demands sacrifice from them.  Empire theology shows up in many different forms.  For some it is through politics.  But empires go beyond country borders.  Empires can be religious institutions and work.  They can be beliefs we have about others and the world.  They can be things – like wealth, or guns, or education.  Empires demand and control people.

And they tear down anyone who opposes them and throws believers under the bus when they are inconvenient.

Empire theology is just one way of living though.  And it’s not even a good way of living.  Empires always end the same way – death and destruction.

Instead…

Instead of empire, Christians are called to kingdom theology.  Or Reign of God theology to put it a better way.

Instead of tearing people and ideas down…Instead of tearing down churches and organizations…Instead of tearing down politicians and policies…Instead of tearing down groups of people…Instead of tearing down and opposing…Instead of pointing out what is wrong and who is wrong…Let us do something else.

Let’s build something.

Instead of just being opposed to the wall, or immigrants…tax cuts or universal health care…left or right…Let’s do something else.

If you oppose something, ask yourself why.  Go beyond the sound bites that you hear that just feed your current belief system and stroke your ego that you are right.  Instead, ask why you believe the proposed idea is not needed or why it is detrimental.

And then do something productive that shows why the thing you oppose is not needed.  Do something that matters.  Do something that impacts people’s lives for the better.  That builds people up.  That impacts people in ways that would stun those you oppose.  Do something small.  Do something.

If you oppose the wall, then the question is, what can you do to improve the lives of immigrants who are seeking a better life?  How about just one immigrant.  It doesn’t have to be a perfect solution.  You can’t save the world.  But you can impact the life of one person for the better and build them up.

If you oppose universal health care, then the question is, what can you do to improve the lives of those without health insurance?  How about just one person who is struggling.  It doesn’t have to be a perfect solution.  You can’ save the world.  But you can impact the life of one person for the better and build them up.

What’s the issue that gets to you?  Guns?  Taxes?  Education?  Jobs?  Immigration?  Abortion?  Safety?  Security?  Freedom?  What is it?

Go beyond the sound bites, the tweets, the memes.  Go beyond the talking points that are thrown up on our culture.  Go beyond the talking heads and the politicians.  Go beyond Facebook.  And think.  Think deeply about the issue.  Why does this issue have control over you, consume you?  Why does it anger you and cause you to fear?  Why does it eat at you?

And once you’re clear about that – then ask what you can and should do about it.  And just start doing something.  And invite others in to participate.  Participating in the building up of something that will build up people rather than tear people down.

This is how things change.  Not by complaining.  Not by tweeting or posting memes.  Not by fighting about an issue in the comment section of a Facebook post or article.  Not by yelling at others who disagree.  Not by waiting for some politician or celebrity to make a claim that they are doing something.  But by you and I actually doing something – regardless of the critics.  Moving forward anyway.

If the idea is worth anything, there will be critics.  Go forward anyway.  If the idea is worth anything, then there will be obstacles.  Go forward anyway.  If the idea is worth anything, then it will last.  The money for it will come.  The people will come.  The idea will become a movement and movements change lives.

Complaining and blaming never changed anything.  Instead, start doing.  Start building.  Start moving.

For me, the issue that gets to me is homelessness in our area.  I’m not satisfied with just waiting for it to resolve itself, or to listen to false claims of people being lazy.  I’m not satisfied with people being on wait lists for housing.  I’m not satisfied with a lack of affordable housing.  I’m not satisfied that people who live in motels and pay $250-$400 a week for a crappy room are trapped in a vicious cycle and can never escape.  I’m not satisfied that there are individuals and families living in their cars, especially when many have jobs.  I’m not satisfied that the poor and homeless are viewed as less than human.  I’m not satisfied that Christians make excuses for not doing something with the poor and homeless as opposed to following what Jesus tells us to do.

I could sit and complain about it.  I could post a meme or have an argument with someone on Facebook about it.  Instead, I decided to do something.  A bunch of somethings.  Will they work?  I have no idea.  But I have hope.  I know sitting and complaining and arguing isn’t going to change one person’s life.

What gets to you?  What are you unsatisfied with?  What’s your instead?

Now go and do it.

You are not alone.  I’m rooting for you.  I’m here to support you, to pray with you, to listen to you.  Reach out to me.  Let’s do “instead” together.

Theology of Winning vs. Theology of Mercy and Justice

Theology matters.  It isn’t just some mental exercise.  Theology has practical implications and impact.

A theology of winning is placing winning as extremely important.  A theology of winning believes that there are winners and losers and that it is better to be a winner than a loser.  A theology of winning believes that there are only two sides and that one side must lose so that the other side will win. A theology of winning believes that there is a limited set of whatever is being fought over.  A theology of winning believes there is an us and there is a them.  A theology of winning believes in tribal identity as the most important identity.  A theology of winning doesn’t make room for God in the public sphere.  A theology of winning believes in works righteousness – the idea that I have to work hard to earn what I get and when I get it, I deserve it because I am the one who won it.

A great example of the theology of winning in our current context is the government shutdown.  The language that comes out of this showdown is that only one side will win, therefore each side is doubling down.

The theology of winning also has consequences.  A theology of winning makes no room for the development of relationships.  It is not based on trust of others.  It is self-centered and selfish.  Those not in the fight don’t even count – they are mere collateral.

A theology of mercy and justice on the other hand believes that there is only an us.  A theology of mercy and justice sees the damage done to all sides in a fight and believes that the benefit of the most people far outweighs the will of a few people and how they look or how they benefit.  A theology of mercy and justice starts from a foundation of trust and truth.  A theology of mercy and justice believes in win-win-win situations.  A theology of mercy and justice works to correct systems so that those who have no power are empowered and included so that all can be more fully who they are called to be.  A theology of mercy and justice seeks God’s will as the primary focus of how decisions are made.  A theology of mercy and justice recognizes that what we have isn’t ours – we are stewards of it.  And we are grateful stewards and we seek to serve one another.

A great example of the theology of mercy and justice would be a food ministry.  A ministry that offers food to the hungry, but more.  A ministry that nourishes people in relationship and community.  A ministry that advocates for changes to policy and culture to ensure that no one goes hungry.  A ministry that seeks to heal the brokenness of the world and one that recognizes that as long as one person is hungry, then we are all missing out on fully being who we are called to be and missing out on the wholeness of community.

A theology of winning may benefit a few – at least in appearance.  But in reality, it benefits no one – not even the winners.  They must struggle to hold onto what they have and keep others away.  How is that winning?  There is no rest for the winners or losers.

A theology of mercy and justice benefits the many at its core.  It offers rest.  It equates all who follow this path as children of God.  A theology of mercy and justice has no desire to equate identity of each person with what they have or what they do.  We are made in the image of God and that is what our identity is.  We receive mercy from God.  We participate in the unfolding of God’s kingdom, which reigns with justice.

Theology matters.  The theology we follow has consequences and impacts lives.  Good theology improves lives.  Bad theology traps people in lies and division and power.  Good theology empowers people.  Bad theology enslaves people and transforms people into objects.

Theology matters.  It impacts lives.

Love and fear

Love and fear occupy similar spaces.  Many would claim that they are in opposition to each other – as if we live in a world where there are only two options at any given time.  I don’t believe that.  I think many things can co-exist at the same time.  And while some things are in conflict with each other directly, other things are not so much in conflict as they are presenting two different worldviews.  Love and fear fit into that category for me.

Fear is something that strikes to the core of our human self.  Fear has a great deal of power.  Fear tells us that we lack something and therefore we are afraid.  We fear failure because we lack success.   We fear not having enough.  We fear not being enough.  We fear others who are different because we don’t know enough about them.

Love isn’t the opposite of fear, even though many of its qualities seem to be in opposition to fear.  But love isn’t in a battle with fear.  That would go against love is.

Love also cuts down to the core of who we are as humans. Love doesn’t have power over others, but rather offers something that fear can’t – hope, promise, and potential.  Love is invitational in nature.  It is vulnerable.  It hopes for, but does not require a response, since love is not interested in the acquisition of power over another person.  Love sees past the first layer to something deeper.

When we look at the world through the eyes of fear, then we see threats all around us.  We see invaders and enemies.   We see what will harm us and assume that it is true.  We look at the world as something that is dangerous to us, so we must do what we can to protect what we have.  Fear, ultimately, is inward focused.  Fear has everything to lose.  It believes that now is the best we have ever experienced or will experience, so we must do what we can to protect what we have.

When we look at the world through the eyes of love, then we see people who are like us in many ways.  We look for what we share in common.  We see humans – some broken, some sinful, some who have intent to cause death and/or destruction, some who are running, some who are different.  But all are humans, just like us.  We see what can harm us and assume nothing about it – what it/they do is not in our control.  We look at the world as something that is complex – full of both danger and opportunity.  But even the danger is full of opportunity to respond and live differently.  Love, ultimately, is outward focused.  Love has everything to gain.  It believes that the best is yet to come as more people willingly live by love, so we must do what we can to invite more people in, to expand the circle.

Fear and love aren’t at odds with each other, as if they there is room for only one.  They occupy the same space, more often than not.  The question is what are we listening to – the voice of fear, love, or something else that lives in the same space?  What we give our attention to is what we hold at the core of who we are and what we believe about the world, God, one another, and ourselves.  What are you listening to?

Imagine

Imagine what the world would be like if Christians actually followed the teaching of Jesus, rather than made excuses for why they didn’t.

Imagine what the world would be like if Christians devoted as much time, energy, attention, and money to the cause of expanding the kingdom of God, rather than devoting all of these things to the Democrat and Republican parties.

Imagine what the world would be like if Christians took all of their time and emotional energy into feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, visiting the sick and imprisoned, rather than fighting about politics on Facebook.

Imagine what the world would be like if Christians spent as much time reading the Bible as they did reading social media and news websites.

Imagine what the world would be like if Christians hung on every word that Jesus said, rather than what politicians tweeted.

Imagine what the world would be like if Christians actually acted like followers of Jesus, rather than an extension of something else – a political party, a social group, a club, etc.

Imagine.

Thankfully, God doesn’t need us to do these things in order for God’s kingdom to move forward.  At the same time, we are thankful for the invitation from God to participate in the unfolding of the kingdom in our midst.  We are grateful for encountering Jesus in our journey.

Controlling ourselves to death

But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

(Source – Genesis 3:4-7, NRSV)

What the serpent offered Eve was tempting.  It wasn’t the apple, but what the apple represented. It is the same offer we receive today and have throughout all of human history – to be like God.

To be in control.

Oh how we desire to be in control.  Yet, in reality, we aren’t and we never have been.

Why this desire of being in control?  Why is this desire to strong in us?

The desire to be in control has led to mean tyrants being in power, wars, death, destruction, abuse, subjugation.  The desire to be in control is paired with someone not being in control, but rather being controlled.  It is necessary.  You can’t be in control, unless you can control something or someone.  Otherwise it isn’t in control.

And the lie the serpent told Eve is the same lie we hear today in so many ways.  It’s the lie that by being in control, we’ll be just like God.  Except we aren’t just like God.  Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.  Even God doesn’t wield control like a weapon.  If God is love, then we have to take a look at what love is like.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.

(Source 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NRSV)

No where in that passage do we see that love is forceful and demanding.  It is invitational.  God is just like this too.  God desires us to be in relationship with God, but God doesn’t force that on us.  That wouldn’t be the way of love.

The way of love and the way of control are in conflict with each other.  Love is about self-giving.  Control is about selfishness and doing what I want to do when I want to do it.

I have seen this play out over and over again.  I have seen it with the addict – the one who tries to control their situation and thinks they have control over their addiction.  Yet, it is this tight hold of control that keeps them addicted and moving towards destruction.  I have seen it with the homeless person – the one who tried to control their situation and thinks they have control over their housing situation.  Yet, it is this tight hold of control that keeps them homeless and moving towards destruction.

The same could be said of people who are wildly successful, according to the world, but in reality are a mess.

People who try to control their lives usually make matters worse.  They often tend to try to exert even more control – which is the worst thing they could do.

It is only in letting go of the lie of control, that life starts to improve for many.  Take any 12 step program and see what is usually the first step.  For Alcoholics Anonymous the first step is stated as:  We admit we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives have become unmanageable.

It’s not just the addict that should be saying this.  Rather, every single one of us should say this every day.

You can’t help someone who tries to remain in control.  You literally can’t do anything helpful for that person.  Doing exactly what they want isn’t really helpful.  For some people, the only way for them to let go is to hit rock bottom.

And that is where you come in.  To be there for someone.  When they are ready.  When they are ready to let go of control and actually receive help.  When they can admit that their way isn’t working.  It is only then that they can be helped.

Do I wish it was some other way?  Sure.  But really, all I would be wishing for would be control over other people.  And I don’t wish for that.  Remember, Love is patient.  It does not insist on its own way.  Love never ends.  Control does.

What are you wearing?

Colossians 3:12 states:

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

How are we doing with this?

How are we clothing ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience in regards to our political beliefs?  Or do theses articles of clothing not fit our politics?  Or do we have excuses as to why we clothe ourselves in other things like spin, anger, fear, being right, loyalty to party, division, labels, etc.

Here’s my advice to you – don’t give those other clothes away.  Don’t share them with others to put on.  The world doesn’t need more of any of those things.  Burn those clothes instead.

And when you are done, put on the clothes of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.  These aren’t easy clothes to wear.  They aren’t crappy weak clothes either.  In fact, these clothes are longer lasting and have some amazing stain resistance from the dirt, mud, and name calling that trying to dirty them.

Is it weaker to be compassionate or to be selfish?

Is it weaker to be kind or cruel?

Is it weaker to be humble or narcissistic?

Is it weaker to be meek or immodest?

Is it weaker to be patient or impatient?

In each case, it is much more work and much stronger to wear the clothing of the first option.  It is a weakness of character to wear the other clothes.