“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12 NIV)
I’d like to point out, with some pride I might that, that my Alma mater, Asbury University not only played The University of Kentucky in an exhibition game the other night, but that we scored 63 points. That’s correct, Asbury scored more points on Uk than Duke, with its long vaunted basketball history, did when they played the Wildcats last year.
But before you get excited or pen Asbury into March madness brackets, I should mention that UK scored 156 in that game. yep, it was a 156-63 route of the Asbury Eagles. That’s a bit of a different story isn’t it? It’s all a matter of perspective. 63 points might sound impressive. But losing by but losing by 93 points tells a very different story.
The perspective matters. If your perspective is we lost by 93 points it can be pretty disheartening. Or you can look at the 63 points and not feel so bad. In order to know the truth you have to have to know the numbers. But what you choose to do with them might very well depend on your perspective.
Today is election day. And while I have no interest in telling you who to vote for, I do want to say something about how to vote, and how to handle the outcome over the next several months or years. In the end it’s all a matter of perspective. What should our perspective be as we head to vote or deal with the aftermath?
It should come as no surprise that as the Church, as the redeemed of Christ our perspective needs to be a uniquely Christian one, and its a perspective I feel we have lost over the past few months. at least as I observe what we do with social media. We come at the issues from the perspective of Republican or Democrat or right and wrong of anger and superiority. Yet that doesn’t seem to be a perspective that honors Jesus as we are called to do. So as we begin to move into a new phase in our country what is the proper perspective?
I suggest its the perspective Peter reminds us here in the verse at the top of the blog. Peter says, in short, we are always a witness. Let me say that louder: WE ARE ALWAYS A WITNESS. Your life is a witness to Jesus. The world judges who Jesus is by how we, the church live and act. Every moment of your life, whether you like it or not is a witness, gives a testimony to Jesus. If you demean someone it tells the world you serve a God who doesn’t treasure people. If you are hurtful it says something about how your God tolerates hatred. You life is always a witness to Jesus. That’s our perspective and it’s how we ought to be living. And sadly one we often forget.
So what does that mean for us as we move forward? If I am to live my life with the understanding that my life is always a witness, how do I give the world a true perspective of who Jesus is? Let me give you a few suggestions, based on the character and nature of Jesus
1.) Since Jesus is love, by which we define what love is by the character of Jesus, we need to be loving when we interact with one another. Its perfectly fine to disagree with someone’s view points. It’s not OK to treat them in an unloving manner. If you can’t say something and not appear to be hateful toward a person, a candidate or a party, then don’t say it. Silence can be golden.
2) Jesus is humility. There is no place for smugness in the Kingdom of God. I’ve seen so many things mentioned, discussed or posted about candidates downfall or foibles with an incredible air of smugness and superiority. If we react this way, what does that do to our witness to the world? The day after the election some will have supported the winner of an election the others the loser. But there is no place in the church for those who chooses to look down on others. Our lives are always a witness.
3) Jesus is the truth. So only tell the truth. Make sure, if you are going to make a statement, or repost something that it’s true. Look it up, do some research. Why? Because we want to be right? No! because our lives are a witness to how God treasures the truth. And when we don’t treasure it, we give a false witness to God. We are always a witness.
4) Jesus is forgiveness. Someone is going to tell you that you are wrong. Maybe not about an election ( I hope!), but probably about something. Odds are, if you live long enough, someone will not only wrong you, but be nasty about it. call you names. How are we to deal with it? By remembering that we are always a witness. Reacting with vitriol and hate not only doesn’t bring anyone around to your point of view, but it gives unintentionally, a negative witness about the God you service. When the disagreements happen, even if you are called all sorts of nasty things and falsely accused, try this. Look at your hands. Look at your feet. Look at your side. Find any nail holes? Any spear wounds in your side? Then you’re good to go. Jesus when he was crucified, the weight of the sin of the world on His shoulders asked God to forgive those who had tortured and in the process of executing Him. Can we do any less?
It’s really not about the election process at all. It’s about how you and I, as the church, chose to live our lives. I’ve determined that I want to give a true witness to Jesus every single moment of my life. I don’t always do it. I’m not always there. I lean on the grace of Jesus frequently. But that’s my desire. Always a witness. I want to be a true witness. It’s a matter of perspective. What’s yours?
Rev. Brian Jones <><