I just finished watching our president at a press conference and I couldn't help but get upset. Although I did not vote for President Obama, I do respect the position immensely. I cannot imagine the difficulty and challenges he faces every single day. What upset me was not the talking heads we elect, but us.
We live in a nation where (in general) we salute pro athletes for being "brave" and coming out yet we forget the sacrifices of military spouses who are left here to raise a family on their own. We push for reform so that "at least one child is saved" yet we turn a blind eye to Preemies being allowed to die in the hands of abortionists like Gosnell. The president scolds congress for not passing gun control laws but ignores Benghazi. This is the same country that is trying to teach tolerance when it comes to Muslims so they don't hate us and try to kill our citizens YET we leave American pastor Saeed in an Iranian jail to be beat and tortured for his faith.
How did we get it so backwards?
With regards to racism, Attorney General Eric Holder said recently that we must protect innocent ethnic groups from misguided acts of retaliation. If that is true for Americans on this blessed soil, then shouldn't it be true for those Americans abroad as well? Why do we still not know the truth about Benghazi? Why does Iran feel the US won't do anything about Pastor Saeed and can keep him in solitary confinement in a prison that is known for torture? Where is the press? Why aren't we as citizens outraged?
Eric Holder's statement can also be used as the same argument for this nation's unborn. An overwhelming and alarming number of abortions end the lives of African American and Hispanic babies every day. These innocents are suffering "from misguided acts of retaliation" by their uninformed mothers. A woman is faced with a scary and difficult choice to terminate the life of her fetus and all she hears is screams of "it's her right!" or she should "have kept her legs closed!"
Where did we go so wrong?
Government is not our moral compass. It never has been nor should it be, even though it would be great to witness. The fact is that our government is made up of fallible men and women. Sometimes I believe that many in this country hide behind the excuse of powerlessness simply because our government says this, that and the other is legal or illegal.
History shows us that early Christians were under immense pressure and persecution from a pagan government and world. Practically everything they held true and pure and good were challenged and mocked or they were even killed by their contemporaries. However, when there was a need for the outcast like the sick, dying, orphaned, hungry and the unwanted, these very pagans brought them to the doorsteps of early Christians. Why? Because even though this rising group of "radical" Jesus followers were hated by the norm, they were seen as different. They fed the poor. They tended to the sick. They took in widows and orphans. They cared for the dying. They knew the unwanted were valued by the God they worshipped.
Yes I know that in between then and now the Church has had many marks against them. They too are not immune from fallible men and women. I hear the chants of hypocrisy all the time but that doesn't give you or I a pass from our very own hypocrisy.
But what does that mean?
It means we need to be quick to listen rather than judge. It means understanding that the woman mourning her abortion has the right to do so. Don't chastise her sorrow and tell her she did the right thing when every fiber of her being reminds her of emptiness. She and her husband really wanted that baby but it was the doctor who told them "there is no hope".
It means understanding that the young girl was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong guy. She really did believe him when he said he loved her. Don't yell at her and tell her she should have "kept her legs closed" because the fact is she is very scared. Tell her you'll be there for her and get her to people that can help. Pray for her. She might be thinking adoption and she may need you to be strong while she is very courageous.
It means listening to a gay man and understanding why he wants to marry. You may not agree with him but the thing he needs more than anything else is to know that the God who created him loves him. No amount of screaming "abomination!" will ever get that point across. We all need to wrestle with God to understand what "go sin no more" means. I know God loves me but I still wrestle. Don't you?
So how did we get it all so backwards? I don't know. Our own human nature I suppose.
The reality is that if you and I call ourselves Jesus followers, then we have to be all in. It means we can't hide behind government and insist they feed the poor. We must be part of the solution. It means that if we are going to be outraged by the statistics of abortion, we cannot give the self-righteous glare of indignation to an unwed teen mom. We must be part of the solution. It means that if we are going to show other nations how well we treat their emigrants through immigration reform and tolerance, then we must also demand equal care for our citizens abroad. I know it's easier said than done but I said it already once - Pastor Saeed is in an Iranian jail. His family fears for his life. The media has said nothing. We have to be part of the solution.
We are not given a spirit of timidity, we are called to be strong and courageous. We should be ready for such a time as this by simply looking at the hated early Christians. They were seen as different because they were. In a time when nothing else mattered but self preservation, they gave everything and changed the world.
Isn't it time we did too?