Matthew 5:10"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Few things break my heart more than to hear people react negatively to Christianity, or any expression of faith. Recently Mike Lindell, the "My Pillow" guy, had an opportunity to stand next to our President and say “I encourage you to use this time at home to get back in the word, read our Bibles and spend time with our families... With our great president, vice president, the administration and all the great people in this country praying daily, we will get through this and get back to a place that’s stronger and safer than ever.”
These were strong words of encouragement. They were inspiring and filled with positive energy.
So naturally the hate began to flow. When Lindell endorsed prayer and the Bible, and especially standing next to President Trump, he immediately became the target for trolls.
Okay, I get it that a lot of people never let the chance to bash Donald Trump pass by. Their disdain for Trump has never ceased ever since he won the Presidency. There are many on both sides of the aisle who cannot see past their prejudices. Okay. That has always been. There have been a few Presidents I never cared for either, I am sorry to admit. Often that blindness gets extended to anyone else in the President's circle. That is politics at its worst, and I don't imagine for a minute that will ever end.
But there are also many who are quick to be hateful toward anyone who expresses their faith in God, Jesus, prayer, and the Bible. As a Christian, it cuts me to my core. I cannot help but feel it is because they have felt wronged by the church or its members. They may have been treated poorly by a Christian who felt compelled to condemn them for the choices they have made. They have been harmed by the church or by someone they thought they could trust. They feel disrespected and belittled because of their beliefs.
I once worked for a church, and nearly every day I encountered the sinful nature of people, both within the organization and outside. It was there that I first heard the phrase; "The church isn't made up of saints, but of sinners." People would leave their valuables laying around, assuming they were safe because they were in a church. Big mistake! Churches, and especially mega-church organizations, attract an unseemly crowd! Church leaders took unfair advantage of their positions. Grifters prey on the trusting nature of people who often drop their guard in a church setting. Confidences are betrayed. It happens, and people get hurt, angry, and end up rejecting faith.
I think of all the times in my life when I represented Christ poorly, and I am ashamed. I know I have hurt people and I know I will never gain their forgiveness or trust again. How I have fallen short, and how I pray I did not drive a wedge between them and belief!
This is an unusual time for all of humanity. It is a time when we can choose to curse our confinements, or we can turn out hearts toward healing. Right now, an entire planet has been brought to reckoning.
Use this time as a time of retreat, unlike any time you have had before. Reflect on how you choose to live, and the legacy you want to leave. Let this be an opportunity for you, and not a burden. That may seem like a tall order when we spend our days hoping to snag some supplies or find a way to pay the rent. I know these are big concerns for many. But be assured that there will come a time when we will once again have all the paper supplies and hand sanitizer we want. Of course, they are important... but we have a bigger need.
What we really need is release our fear and anger and embrace renewal instead. Forgive yourself for your shortcomings and learn from them. Become the better you, because we will one day all emerge from this darkness. Some may continue to live in anger and bitterness. But is that what you want for your life?
Let yourself heal, because the world is going to need people of kindness, generosity, and mercy. Be that person.