With so much attention on national politics, it often becomes a distraction. This isn’t new though. It didn’t start a year ago. Our national politics and the fights over politicians, what they say, policies (when they actually get any attention at all), the horse race of the campaign, alleged corruption, actual corruption, campaigning, etc. have taken a sizable portion of many people’s attention for some time now. It just grows over time.
It’s not new that many people wait anxiously to hear what the president (and other political leaders) has to say on any given subject. The same thing happened under Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Reagan. Now we wait for a tweet, whereas before we had to wait for the evening news or the morning paper.
Our obsession with having to know what our leaders think about everything in life is not healthy. And it is a distraction that keeps us from other things we’d rather not think about. In this sense, it is like any other drug. The benefit for us is that we get to scapegoat someone else for any problem going on. We get to trick ourselves into believing that we have no power over our lives – that our political leadership has complete control over our lives to the point that we’ll know how we are supposed to feel for the day based on what the president has said and whether we are offended by it or happy about it.
What about the rest of life that doesn’t fall under this – which happens to be most of life. Why do we distract ourselves from the challenges that are around us? Why do we distract ourselves from our own challenges? I would guess we do this because of fear – fear of not knowing what to do, what to say, or how to proceed. Fear that we might make things worse. Fear of taking responsibility and suffering the consequences of that responsibility. Fear of having to really live out what we claim to believe. Fear of following the calling that is there for our lives from God. Fear.
So we distract ourselves. We blame others, especially those that it is easy to point the finger at with blame, or give the finger to.
But that changes nothing. We’ll remain miserable, and void of meaning. We’ll remain angry and upset and offended. We’ll remain wondering what happened to our lives and why nothing ever changed and why we never reached our full potential. We’ll remain wondering why we don’t see miracles around us. We’ll remain wondering why we don’t see lives changed and why we don’t encounter God. We’ll remain mediocre and focused on survival.
It’s easy to distract oneself from the challenges that are around us. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to human trafficking, sex trafficking, prostitution, drug problems, theft, immigration problems. Those all seem like huge problems – what can one person do about any of those – except distract themselves from the pain. It’s easy to wave off smaller challenges too – disrespect of people, dehumanizing jokes and statements, bullying, etc. We’d rather not get involved. We’d rather not make the situation uncomfortable. We tell ourselves that it was just one instance. We tell ourselves that next time we’ll speak up. But we don’t know how. We don’t have the practice or the habit. And we have fear. And so we brush these things aside.
They go on. And they are right there – right in front of us. Every day. We see them throughout the day – we hear them. And we walk right on by.
Want this to change? Here’s a start – you aren’t alone. You aren’t the only one who sees and hears these things and knows that they aren’t right. You aren’t alone.
I’m willing to say that most people know when something isn’t right. But they fear being the first to say or do something. But most people will jump up to help once someone else starts. Once someone else takes the risk. Be that person – take the risk.
It’s scary. It’s going into the unknown. Something bad could happen to you – true. But something good could very well come out of it. A person’s life could be changed. A person could have their humanity restored. A person can have their dignity restored. A person can know that they are not alone. A person can be saved from enslavement. A person can be set free. A person can live and thrive. And other can see this and be encouraged to follow suit.
When we take the risk, we are living out our faith. As a Christian, we are answering Jesus call for our lives.
Take a risk. Speak up. Step in. Reach out. Pray and then act. Live out your faith. This is what we are called to.
Take the risk.
Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’