How do we possibly talk about the current events going on in our nation? Is it even possible to have and maintain unity? Just broaching the subject feels like walking through a field filled with landmines, and yet not talking about it seems equally as dangerous.
As I talk with different friends about our current events, it seems to me that there is a silent majority not ranting on social media. It is scary for many people to express their thoughts and opinions anymore. To think out loud, to try to talk and engage with others, seems impossible due to the knee-jerk responses of identity politics in our country.
How can followers of Jesus possibly love our neighbors when it can be difficult to even have meaningful conversations? How can we live in unity?
I think we need to acknowledge we may be too quick to sift people into extremes. Anyone who votes for the democrats is immediately called out as a “baby-killer.” Anyone who votes republican is a “white privileged racist.” Are we too quick to judge others, separating people into camps of “in” or “out?”
We must be careful not to collapse our faith into a political party, left or right. Doing so is an act of idolatry and doesn’t honor Jesus as our true King.
It appears that our democracy is being stress-tested. I hope and pray our forms of democracy will respond, adjust, and come out stronger. But my ultimate hope is not in democracy itself. I do not merge my real citizenship as a follower of Jesus with any government. What is happening in our nation is a reminder that no government compares to the Kingdom of God. As followers of Jesus, when we recognize our true citizenship is in the Kingdom, our conversations can be seasoned with truth, grace, kindness, and love as we point others to what truly matters in this world.
This time has provided a real opportunity to assess what has a hold over my heart, imagination, and desire in life. In other words, who is really the King of my life? If I claim to be a citizen of the Kingdom and I declare Jesus as King, I must pause to consider if I really mean that.
A friend recently shared with me some thoughts on a way forward for our nation. She shared:
“What needs to happen for unity to take place? We can’t just pray for unity without being willing to do the hard work: reconciliation, sacrifice, repentance, compassion, empathy, humility, etc. I’m praying that we will all do the necessary hard work for true unity to take place.”
I agree with my friend. As followers of Jesus, as citizens of the Kingdom, and with Jesus as our King, may we do the hard work of unity-building around the only thing that can truly unify: Jesus.