I planned to talk about celebrating our differences and how God has made us wonderfully diverse. I love cultures, languages, and people. I love meeting people who are from different places than I am, who have different ideas than I do—there is a richness in having friends and acquaintances all over the world. When we travel, we’re more interested in connecting with the people of the culture than visiting museums and looking at architecture. Both are interesting, but our preference is meeting people and experiencing their culture through their eyes.
But I also feel I need to take a moment to comment on what most of us have been thinking about since last week: the political and social situation our nation is facing.
My first reaction is to call us all to pray. Our country has been in crisis for a while, and as expected, it is coming to a head. Our only hope and our only comfort is in prayer and in resting in God’s presence and holiness.
Pray for our kids. Our children may not know how to process this current situation. I know my adult children are having a hard time knowing how to cope with this feeling of insecurity. The division in our country has been unsettling to them, and they are experiencing stress and some anxiety from it all.
As Christians, it seems we stand on one side of a line that has been drawn in our country as well. If we stand for what the Bible says, we are faced with opposition from Christians who disagree with us and those who are against what the Bible says. The “friendly fire” is often the hardest to take. For our kids, this can be devastating.
BE ALERT TO OUR KIDS’ FEELINGS
So, second, my reaction is to call us to diligence on our children’s behalf. We need to be alert to their feelings. Talking together is vital to remain aware of what they are thinking and how they are processing the news. We need to offer them comfort and hope, but we can’t just offer empty platitudes. That brings me to my third call to action.
BE ALERT TO OUR OWN FEELINGS
Third, we must be cognizant of our feelings and reactions. If we are feeling fear, bitterness, or alarm, that may be amplified exponentially in our kids. I’ve seen children take the passionate concern of a parent and turn it into raw, violent anger in their hearts. If we don’t put our feelings at the foot of the cross and bring our concerns to Christ, we run the risk of demonstrating an ungodly reaction to our world situation.
HELP GUIDE OUR KIDS
Fourth, I think we must help our kids know how to stand for what they believe. We need to equip them with the ability to show grace and to discuss beliefs without becoming emotional. We also need to help them discern when it is best to say something and when it is best to walk away. That is a very mature ability, but it is an important one to work on. Not all battles are worth fighting. Not all battles are ours. And not all battles accomplish anything. If we choose to stand for our beliefs, we need to think what the purpose is—sharing the Gospel, not compromising our faith, or is it just a “soapbox” moment where we feel better getting something off our chest.
We cannot be afraid to stand for what’s right in a world championing wrong. But we should be wise in how we do that. Rioting, looting, violence, and mob mentality are an embarrassing, shameful, and selfish response to any situation.
STAND WITH LOVE AN GRACE
So my last call to action is to stand with love and grace. It seems that we will be called to stand against the tide more and more. We must take a stand rather than deny God, but we need to see the examples of those who went before us. The greatest have stood with love and grace. They’ve preached salvation and peace with their dying breaths. We need to have that same attitude and integrity in whatever situation we are facing.
As we walk through this time in history, I think being able to act in a positive way not only may be used by God to help the situation, but it will help us from feeling helpless and hopeless. Also, we need to hold on to the understanding that Mordecai had about Esther’s place in history: “If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14, NLT) God has us here at this time and in this place. He has placed our children here as well. He is not surprised by the events of these past few years. He has a plan. We are part of that plan.
I pray we will step up to take action in prayer and integrity; in love and grace; to make God’s name known among the nations. May we truly be salt and light in our confused and dark world.