The Seeing Blind

In this present darkness, most of us feel oppressed at every turn. We sense spiritual forces battling it out. Good versus evil. Angels versus demons. Light against shadows. We’ve been taught to be good soldiers for Christ. Take up our cross and fight. Fight for truth. Fight for our children. Fight, well, for everything.

boxing ali

Speaking the truth is always the right thing to do. We must speak what God has declared to be true, omitting nothing. But one thing most of us forget is this: truth never needs a defender. It stands on its own. That’s what makes it truth.

And as far as the cosmic battle goes? The war has already been won. Yet some of us speak and argue and live our lives like the outcome of the spiritual war depends solely on our own effort.

fight from victory

In the past few years, I’ve traveled to many churches, speaking and singing, sharing the transformative power Jesus has displayed in my life. One thing I’ve noticed is that far too many churches are pounding the horribleness of sin, which is true, but no mention is made of forgiveness for the sinner. We talk of the heartbreaking slaughter of millions of innocent babies through abortion, shake our heads and take up arms, yet how many women sit in the congregation silently bowing their head in shame because they were one of the scared souls who made a choice that has now haunted and scarred them forever?

We talk about staying away from vices like pornography and the foul decay it brings to our minds, while a teenage boy on the back row struggles with the images his brain refuses to erase…images he was forced to see by an abusive father who thought showing such things to his young son would ‘make a man out of him’.

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Alcoholics and adulterers, drug users and ex-cons, the hot-tempered and misfits. They are desperately trying to hide their past. To fit in. To pretend it never happened. That the scars they wear are not visible still.

And while we’re busy shaking our fists at sin, and the world’s system, boycotting and ranting on social media about the very things Jesus told us the world would never understand, the hurting Jesus entrusted to our care are bleeding at our feet. And we don’t even notice. We’re so consumed with our righteous indignation, we’re blinded to the broken.

My personal opinion is this: generally speaking, the world should know us by what we’re for…not by what we’re against.

Please don’t misunderstand. This is not a call to stop fighting the good fight. Far from it. But in our zeal, may we be careful to keep compassion before campaigns. Truth should never trample love.

The gospel was never meant to shame the sinner. The gospel of Jesus is Good News. The God of the universe not only sees you, but outrageously, desperately loves you so much He died to make you His. This is a scandalous love. This is what we should be shouting through the streets. This is what we should be flooding through social media. This is the One Who can transform your life from broken to beautiful. Jesus.

In our lists of all the things that God is and what God does and doesn’t do, what He embraces and what He cannot, let us never forget this most beautiful, fundamental, and scandalous truth…the truth that all else rests upon: God is love.

ephesians 3

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Why I Gave Up Talking Politics on Social Media

I will no longer talk politics on social media.

There. I said it.

You may be thinking, “So what? This chick probably isn’t very politically minded anyways.”

Wrong.

I’m a musician, and to be honest, I rarely know the top hits of the day because my radio is always tuned into news talk stations. I’m extremely well-informed. My kids are almost as well informed as I am. I keep my thumb on the political pulse of our world every day. No, that’s not why I’m giving up talking politics on social media.

“But, Tara,” my friends say, “the stakes have never been higher. The United States is at a tipping point.” I get it. I really do. And trust me, I’m on my knees daily, praying that the apocalypse that we are about to descend into will somehow be reversed by God’s mercy. I can tell from the looks on their faces they think I’m just discouraged about the upcoming elections, weary of all the talk, the mud-slinging, the scandals. I am, but not in the way they think.

trump vs clinton

I’m giving up talking politics on social media because of Christians like myself.

These past several weeks have been eye-opening. Accusations and name calling. Assumptions and judgmental barbs flung like daggers. Temper tantrums and junior high style snarky posts about people without technically calling the person by name. Passive aggressive behavior. “I can’t believe a Christian would support this candidate.” “I can’t believe any Christian wouldn’t support this candidate.”Blah, blah, blah. Snark, snark, snark. Sin, sin, sin.

And all the while, unbelievers watch, watch, watch.

The number of people who can state their opinion in a calm way without stirring up a hornet’s nest of vitriol are shockingly few. Fewer still are those who can scroll through Facebook without be constantly offended by someone or something.

All of it breaks my heart.

facebook fight

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no holier-than-thou. I’ve done it too. That’s the problem. One crazy item in the news and my emotions fire up. Then my fingers start typing and before I know it, I’m in an argument with some dude I barely knew in high school over a political issue that neither of us are experts about.

A niggling unease has been building in my spirit for the past several weeks and I’ve had troubling identifying just why it was there. Every time I opened Facebook and saw yet another heated interchange between fellow Christians, it only grew worse. (This is aside from my normal aversion to confrontation.) Suddenly one day it hit me: we talk about what we’re passion about. And all I’m seeing plastered across social media is politics.

That’s well and good if you don’t know Jesus, but as a believer, we are called to something, no, to Someone much higher.

I have friends in my social media accounts from various walks of life. Some are conservatives and some are liberals. Some are straight and some are gay. Some have been in church all their lives and some have never even stepped foot inside a church building. If I’m not careful, I can forget that my life (including social media) is no longer my own. It’s God’s. I’ve been bought with a price. I have a tremendous opportunity to each the farthest corners of the globe with His message of hope. But what do I do? I get on Facebook and squabble about the election.

No more.

If my opinion becomes a stumbling block to someone receiving Christ,

If venting my opinion spirals into an angry exchange or even a perceived angry exchange,

If those who read my words can no longer see Christ in me,

then it’s not worth it.

When this life is over and I stand before God, this election won’t matter. It will be over and done. The outcome will have long been decided. But what will matter is how I treated people in my circle of influence. Every person I meet is either moving closer or farther away from God. Am I encouraging them or discouraging? Am I a voice of love or a voice of rage?

As love peoplebelievers, what instructions did Jesus give us until He returns? Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19,20)

Jesus didn’t say, “Go therefore and make Republicans of all nations…” or “Go therefore and sell the people on a government funded Democrat run program…”. Not at all. Politics have nothing to do with our job. We are supposed to be passionate about telling a dying world about Him.

And lest we forget…governments rise and fall at the hand of God alone.

When Jesus was spilling out His life on the cross, He was not dying for a nation. He was dying for the entire human race. Am I more interested in how a person fills out their ballot, or where they will spend eternity?

This is not a plea for Christians to stop posting political news or opinions on their social media accounts. Please don’t misunderstand. Each person’s account is their individual voice of freedom. What this is a cry for is a plea for wisdom. If we as Christians cannot engage in political discourse without our emotions running rampant, we should yield to the Holy Spirit and exercise self-control. People are watching. Unbelievers are watching and they are trying to figure out what they think of God based on how His kids behave.

This is why I’ve said goodbye to talking politics on social media. The price is high. Souls are at stake. And when souls are at stake, my Facebook and Twitter feed should be flooded with light, all signs pointing them to a loving Savior…not an election or my personal opinions of temporary problems.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

They won’t know us by whether we vote Republican or Democrat, whether we support the hot-button issues of the day or how well we can argue our position.

They will know us by our love.