PTSD from #ElectionNight

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You don’t understand how serious and how hard of a job being a Social Media Mentor is until you survive the week of the 2016 Presidential Elections (#ElectionNight). Every other status and tweet is about the election, blaming Trump, blaming Hillary, blaming you and me for being white, blaming the neighbor’s dog, and the name-calling is horrendous. Even “the church” gets the blame for the roguish behavior of people leadership or a congregation can’t control. So it’s been a tough week for me for very different reasons.

I’m on Social Media about 6ish days a week from sun up to sun down, looking for people who need a friend, a mentor, or someone to listen on top of a full time job, helping churches connect with people online, and keeping up with writing obligations. So this election week brings me into a near state of depression (or as I jokingly say, PTSD).

Today, in fact, I had to firmly shut my laptop and just quit.

I had to go for a run and appreciate once again where God has me serving. I look at the churches in my community and I am proud of them for how hard they work to love others even when that love or their help might be rejected. I understand grief. I have been grieving since 2008 and I am still grieving, but not for what you think.

I am grieving mainly for how we are putting politics (left and right) above our faith in God, and how we associate being a Republican with being a Christian when the two have nothing to do with Salvation according to the Bible. Christians who put down the church because of a few people put down the very people you and I have come to love who serve so selflessly in their communities.

The divide is very deep in our country. Part of me is pleased to see more and more statuses reflecting a plea for unity. The other part, like today, is grieved to see Christians tearing down the body of Christ without a thought to unbelievers and how their words may be perceived by them and the world, or how it defames the workers in the field who are doing the jobs of twenty because of a lack of volunteers out of love for their communities; love for even the people who are rioting and causing damage.

My question to everyone: What if we flood the internet with stories of what God is doing through you or others to reach our communities? What if more good stories outran the bad ones?

I’m taking a Social Media Fast week after next for a couple of days. I’m going to be focusing on this year’s verse from Matthew 4:19 (CEB) to ask God to show me HOW to reach the unreached, the unloved, and the unchurched. Human nature is complex.

So, don’t mind me; I’m just suffering from a little #ElectionNight PTSD.

The Bible Challenges Set Prejudices & Beliefs

Anne Lamott — ‘You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.’

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I shared an image with this quote on Facebook one day. The responses were good–the kind of responses that bring about real change. In my heart, I absorbed its truth. It wasn’t until later that it hit me.

As I raise financial partners, learn about the peoples on the move, and serve on social media and in the local church, God is challenging my previously held beliefs and prejudices. Again, God isn’t always agreeing with me. I am a conservative politically and to my chagrine, I realized how being an American and my politics had become an idol and even an identity. From our divided and violent country where one person’s rights override anothers that made me re-think things.

Sunday found me reading Luke 5:28-30:

Levi got up, left everything behind, and followed him. Then Levi threw a great banquet for Jesus in his home. A large number of tax collectors and others sat down to eat with them. The Pharisees and their legal experts grumbled against his disciples. They said, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

Matthew Henry’s Commentary had this to say,

It was a wonder of his grace that he would not only admit a converted publican into his family, but would keep company with unconverted publicans, that he might have an opportunity of doing their souls good; he justified himself in it, as agreeing with the great design of his coming into the world. Here is a wonder of grace indeed, that Christ undertakes to be the Physician of souls distempered by sin, and ready to die of the distemper (he is a Healer by office, Luke 5:31)– that he has a particular regard to the sick, to sinners as his patients, convinced awakened sinners, that see their need of the Physician—that he came to call sinners, the worst of sinners, to repentance, and to assure them of pardon, upon repentance, Luke 5:32. These are glad tidings of great joy indeed.

My husband told me about an interview on Focus on the Family (I saved it to listen to later). A former LGBT spoke about how they can tell when they are treated differently. People assume certain things about you politically if you choose to develop a friendship with an LGBT. I said online, “How can they know Jesus if we don’t show them through sincere friendship what He means to us?” 

In Luke 5, Jesus sat and dined with sinners. It is important to note that not once did Jesus affirm a sinful life. He became the example. I don’t know a single believer who hasn’t sinned (and this includes myself). Love manifests itself in the service and love we give to others by living out our faith. A pastor once preached that both your head and heart must work together. Too much of one or the other is ineffective.

As I get deeper into mission history, God is challenging previously held prejudices and beliefs set by my American identity and political beliefs. A tribe in an area that I can’t recall from one of my readings talked about how religious teachers would be considered remiss if they didn’t share their religious views with a non-believing person. If a person is drowning, wouldn’t you want to throw them a life vest or jump in after them?