There is nothing worse than dirty lenses on eyeglasses. The struggle is real. I go through this struggle on a daily basis. I clean my glasses and then some magical dirt and dust fairy descends upon the area and BOOM—-my glasses are gross again. So I take my glasses and wipe them on my clean and soft t-shirt. Wait, that shirt was clean until my toddler wiped his Cheez-It-crusted hands on it. AHH!
You and I have a lens that we see the world through. Call it our worldview, perspective, or viewpoint but we all have this feature. It is part of being a human being. Unless you live under a rock, you will notice how religion and politics have become enmeshed in the USA over the years. It seems like these two topics used to be distant cousins but now they are married to each other. This is not always a bad thing; however, when we are not grounded (especially if you are a Christian), you will drink any ideals that are offered to you.
How do you handle these two topics when mixed together?
- Take inventory of yourself. Before you do anything else, pause. What is the LENS through which you see the world, your neighbors, your loved ones, the Church, and LIFE? The lens you use is how you will see the world. Any hurts, traumas, successes, prejudices, and ideals—they all are factored in to how we view the world. The above mentioned things will also impact how you read and interpret the Bible.
- Be careful where you put God. When we mix religion and politics, we sometimes try to say God wants this side or that side to win. Or that particular candidates are the Chosen One. Watch how much you interject God into politics. Political systems are a huge breeding ground for power, corruption, and chaos. Additionally, so are college and professional sports. God is more concerned about us being in relationship with Him than in WHO wins. Besides, your sports team or political candidate never walked on water and they won’t get you into Heaven.
- Remove emotions. I have found most (not all) people cannot discuss religion and politics because they cannot manage their emotions. They want to win the argument! There is no hearing the “other side” out on why they believe what they believe. If you want to have these talks with people, check yourself and your emotions at the door.
- Stop watching so much media/TV. I do not know of any calm people who watch a lot of news or spend countless hours on social media. These soul-sucking vortexes will just tire you out, make you more anxious, and create a Us Versus Them mentality. Be kind to yourself and know when enough is enough.
- Little ones are watching. Remember that other people are watching you—-your kids, grand-kids, neighbors, etc. Ask the younger generation what they think about us “religious folks”. Poll your neighbors to why they don’t go to church. You will be stunned. Yes, no one is perfect including the guy writing this blog. However, to love others does not mean AGREEMENT with others. If you look at the Gospels, Jesus hangs with the religious folks and the lost. Jesus does not always agree with how things are but he still loves the Pharisees (haters) as much as the lost.
Friends, I hope this blog was helpful in navigating the religion/political minefields that are out there. Remember your worth and rest in the fact that the Kingdom is bigger than what we see on a daily basis. Now, go clean your glasses!