Ephesians 4:14-16 (emphasis mine)
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Wow… okay, where to start. This morning, as I was going about my usual routine, eating breakfast, checking e-mail, I had a notice that a comment had been made on an item posted on my facebook account. I clicked over to read what my friend had written in response to a video I had posted. The video, I found humorous, mocked the McCain/Palin selection. Granted, I still find it funny, but upon reading the comments my friend had made, my heart sank.
She had written, very kindly, and with much grace, about the apparent difference of the words written here, and the commentary regarding the political process on my facebook. She challenged me to see how my attitude was not in love, and how my actions may have been perceived. My first instinct was to get defensive, to insist that she was wrong, and I was right. I felt my face flush in anger and the urge to react bubbled up. I started to type out a response, but paused. I realized that what she had said was true. I realized that in my arrogance, I had assumed to have a moral high ground, that I was above all of this nonesense, and that pointing out the flaws and weaknesses of the candidates somehow made me a better person. I was guilty as charged.
So with humility, I wrote her back, thanking her for candidness, and thanking God for people such as her, who do the hard task of speaking truth in love. In writing to her, I was reminded of a passage we’d covered in Sunday School this week regarding earthly leadership. 1 Samuel 8:6,9-21
But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him:… “Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”
Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.
But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.
When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. The LORD answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”
After reading that again, I began to identify myself in the cries of the people of Israel. Instead of turning to God to trust Him alone, I had begun to place my trust in politics, in the voice calling for Change. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not writing off politics, nor am I going to stop working towards improving things for our nation. What I am saying is that my attitude has mirrored those whom I criticize… though I may not be calling one of the candidates “blessed” by God, I had begun to place my hope for change not in the hands of the Almighty Father, but rather in the hands of a broken human soul, who may be able to do great things, but cannot match the wonders that Christ can do if I place my hope and trust in Him. The backdoor way of depending on others to enact change frees me from the responsibility to create the change myself, through the help of Christ.
I believe that we are called to be above the fray. I might believe that, but living as such is much harder. I must set aside the arrogant notion that one person can bring change. I must realize my part in change, and therefore challenge others to start where they are. If we all were to seek out justice, to help those in need, to reach out with love and forgiveness, we could change this world from the bottom up. Perhaps our prayers should not be that we pick the right candidate, but that our lives may be guided by Christ, and that through our actions and our trust in Him alone, we might bring about the very change we hope and pray our politicians to do. That come November, it might not matter who is president, as long as we the church continue to trust God to guide us, continue to seek His will in our lives, and continue to look for opportunities to serve Him where we are.