The warm sun shine brilliantly in the cloudless blue sky above. The lake glistens as the breeze swirls across the surface creating gentle waves. The air is filled with the sound of rustling leaves and the laughter of families enjoying one of the rare warm days of the summer.
Today as I sit here on the beach, I am finally taking some time to sit alone and be still. I am finally taking time, for the first time in months, to write and decompress (some of) the past 4 or 5 months. I know that I will never fully have the proper words my soul is searching for to express everything I feel and think, and that’s okay, God will help me sort through it all in His timing.
The past while I’ve actually had a rather hard time finding and using my voice. Knowing what to say, how to say it, and why I am saying it in the first place has made it hard to find my own ground to speak (and write). In addition, anything I do say I want to ensure it is worth saying.
There are so many voices speaking right now, and I want to know that I’m not taking away from important conversations; that I am listening to the voices of others and learning; and that I am not speaking just to speak. However, most importantly, I want to ensure that my heart is in line with the gospel before I speak.
Ever since coming home from Germany life has been wild. It’s been a lot to navigate through my own pregnant emotions/changing body and mindset, living in my parents basement, watching my grandfather battle and succumb to terminal cancer, and the seemingly never-ending heartbreak, conflict, and unrest in the world, not to mention living in these Covid times.
With all of that going on I haven’t known what to say or feel, except for overwhelmed and kind of lost. For a while everything seemed very strange and convoluted, as if I was looking into a warped mirror of my life — it seemed familiar but not quite how it should be.
In times of hardship, struggle, uncertainty, or anything else I always turn to the one place I know I can find absolute certainty: Jesus and the Bible. And so that is exactly what I did, however I felt exhausted, confused, and reluctant to hand everything fully over to Jesus for the longest time.
I was physically (first trimester of pregnancy I was a potato) and mentally exhausted, and at the same time I was heartbroken and in turmoil over the state of our world and over the state of people’s hearts.
Every time I tried to understand my own feelings and thoughts, I would quickly get sucked into a deep divide of hatred and judgment. It was exhausting. Suddenly, it seemed that I was seeing the worst in people, but more shockingly I was seeing a lack of love and compassion from fellow Christians, even from myself.
I found myself harbouring anger and judgment in my heart. I may not have been showing it, but it was definitely there lingering deep within. I don’t think it came out of a place of ill intent, rather it came from a place of anguish, confusion, and exhaustion.
I got to a place where I tried to numb the world and my own feelings for a while, they were too much, and as a result I accidentally pulled back from God.
However, in His continually sweet grace the past few weeks I have been feeling myself open up to Him again. I needed time to think, I needed time to listen, and I needed time to truly go into God’s word and into prayer try to process things. While I definitely do not have any solid, tangible answers, I do have some strong convictions and things that I would like to share.
I do ask that you please show me grace as I struggle through conveying my thoughts in this blog, it will not be perfect.
The past few months have been a weird struggle for all of us. It seems as if tension, hatred, and division have been amplified and brought to the forefront. Charged situations have created charged people.
And while the world is seemingly up in arms, where is the Church?
To be honest, I’m not sure.
From my point of view I have seen Christians fight with Christians over things like Covid, face masks, social distancing, and so so so much more. Having a respectful conversation about something is one thing, but out-right fighting with each other over it is another. It’s heartbreaking to see the Christians I know so divided.
How are we pointing others to Christ or building our brothers and sisters in Christ up when we openly fight and slander each other and each other’s opinions. Where is our heart when we behave this way? In my own opinion, we do nothing but cause further divide and pride in the Church when we behave this way.
We are called to humble ourselves before God. Our hearts, words, and actions should be in line with the Bible, yet I have seen so many of us speak from pride and misplaced passion. Do we not have the time to ask someone about their point of view, or to have an open respectful conversation with them? Rather, we drag their point of view on social media or harbour anger and judgment in our hearts, or we gossip about them.
For me, it was very difficult to be walking through such a confusing and hard season, and then to see the Christian community divided. It left me with a very sour taste in my mouth, it also made a hard season harder. During a time when we needed to come together we did the opposite. We got sucked into the confusion and anger — we allowed division.
Instead of listening to our brother’s and sister’s pain, lived experiences, and point of view, we immediately condemned, judged, or shut them out.
Where is our eternal Kingdom mindset?
Where is our humility?
Where is our love for each other?
The world is hurting, we are hurting.
What a time to share the eternal hope and truth we know.
Christians have eternal hope and comfort… why aren’t we sharing that rather than arguing about masks and social distancing measures? (I think Mark 12:13-17 is a good passage to read)
It took me a long time, prayer, and reading to try to cypher through all my own emotions and opinions, and to humble my own heart. It took me a long time to decide if I should even write or say anything about this. But I know that division amongst us is not part of God’s plan. There are countless verses in the bible about unity. However, one that sticks out to me is 1 Peter 3:8-11,
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For ‘Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it…
I urge my fellow Christians to humble themselves in prayer, to bury themselves in the Word, and then make sure your heart is in line with Jesus’ before you say or share something on social media, or say something thoughtless to someone in person. Let’s guard our hearts, minds, and tongues.
Before you assume I am saying we shouldn’t get involved in politics or that we should all agree on politics, I DO NOT THINK THAT. What I do think is that we, as Christians, should not be defined by our political view. We should not be “conservative Christian” or a “liberal Christian”, we should be Christian, our alliances fully devoted to Christ.
No political party is perfect, but God is. Stand and align fully with him, not political parties or leaders. You should have more in common with your fellow Christians than those who are not Christian yet have the same political stance as you. Every view and opinion we have should always be put through the lens of Christ and his Word.
There is a time and a place to argue certain things, ensure that you are doing it for the right reasons, for godly reasons.
We must pursue peace and hunger for reconciliation within our communities. 2 Corinthians 5:16-19 states,
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. The old has passed away, and the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Reconciliation: a situation in which two people or groups of people become friendly again after they have argued seriously or fought and kept apart from each other.
I want to highlight that Christ reconciled himself to us AND gave to us the ministry of reconciliation. Christ himself did not count all of the things he disagreed or did not like within us, he did not count “[our] trespasses against [us]”.
Through all of our sins and shortcomings Christ brought us back into the Kingdom through taking our sins onto himself. We turned our back on God, yet he reconciled with us. That was the ultimate reconciliation, and that is a ministry he has passed onto us. Yet, despite this, I am seeing much more division than reconciliation.
Reconciliation is from the heart of God, the Church should reflect that.
We should not be holding or counting other groups/peoples trespasses. If there is people or groups within or without of the Church who are divided and fighting, both sides must come together in reconciliation.
Reconciliation isn’t easy, it takes hard work, repentance, grace, and open hearts that are aligned with Jesus. However, it is worth it and it is what Jesus did for us.
Sometimes we need to just sit down, humble ourselves, and listen. Put your own feelings and opinions aside as you come before God to align your heart with his word.
P.S. I also think that a good passage to read in light of everything going on in the world is Mark 12: 13-17. But, truthfully, just spending time daily in the bible reading any verse, and spending time is prayer as well, is what we need desperately in the Church.