Someone sent my own quote back to me from one my office sent out last month, with these words: “Thank you so much for these ‘Breath of Fresh Air’ inspirational messages! The name is perfect, and the messages are greatly needed and much appreciated in these crazy, hectic, troubling times.”
Following Jesus and seeking the approval of the crowd are two divergent paths. Last week, it was a bit concerning to see how some people responded on my Facebook page to my blog about the upcoming election. More people took a purely partisan perspective than I would have hoped, even accusing me of various perspectives I don’t hold or trying to shame me back into the evangelical political fold.
If you haven’t noticed by now, I don’t write what I do to gain more audience share. This website would be very different if I wrote for others’ approval or to build my audience. I don’t know why my heart beats with a different cadence than other people I love seem to hear, but I write because I think something needs to be said that I’m not reading elsewhere. I’m careful about that, too. When something is on my heart that I know will challenge others, I share it with those I know who listen to Father before writing. That still doesn’t mean I always get it right, but it does mean I’m willing to put some different thoughts out there and interact with those who want to give it some honest consideration.
People can disagree without being unloving. We dare not let the world carve up Christ-followers into political factions that the world uses to gain power and financial advantage. I find both sides of that divide to be inherently dishonest and manipulative. Why would we let them become a litmus test for another’s passion for Jesus? Jesus warned us that some would exclude us and lie about us to make us their enemy. He also challenged us never to let them become our enemy. Love is still the only environment in which his light and life flow into the world.
We only grow where we perceive things that are different than we already think. When something challenges my point of view, I listen more closely to see if I detect the breath of the Spirit. Of course, not everything does, but I’ll miss those that do if I only listen to what I already know.
Don’t worry. No matter how this election turns out, God is bigger still. He has a plan unfolding on the earth, and as part of that, he is gathering his sheep not as a powerful political force but as those who reveal his glory in the world. Often in history, his people are more effective when they are powerless in the world’s ways and strong in his. We’ll never figure out what that is in advance, but he does have a path for you to follow, and trying to be popular won’t allow you to see it. You’ll then be left to do what you think is best, and that’s not a healthy road for any of us. In your interactions with others, always be authentic, but also be gracious and generous to people who see differently than you do.
Note: If you’re not receiving these thrice-weekly quotations, you can do so by signing up for A Breath of Fresh Air. You’ll also find a different set of quotes three other days of the week on my Instagram and Facebook author page. You can subscribe to my Instagram feed here or find me there as wayneatlifestream, or “like” my Facebook Author page to receive them.