Scoffing at Deceit

Yesterday, I read the psalm David wrote after Doeg the Edomite, King Saul’s chief herdsman, betrayed the High Priest, Ahimelech (Psalm 52), which resulted in Ahimelech’s death. David’s description of Doeg reminds me of the wicked man I see in the news everyday. Like Doeg, he regularly practices deceit, loves evil rather than good, and loves falsehood rather than speaking the truth. When I hear him speak, I find myself laughing at the absurdity of his claims.

Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero?
    Why do you boast all day long,
    you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?
You who practice deceit,
    your tongue plots destruction;
    it is like a sharpened razor.
You love evil rather than good,
    falsehood rather than speaking the truth.    Selah
You love every harmful word,
    you deceitful tongue!

The evildoer of today is considered a hero to his followers, sadly even to millions of people who call themselves “evangelicals.” But surely he is a disgrace in the eyes of God.

David was sure that God would bring Doeg down to everlasting ruin. I also trust that God will judge this evildoer. And when the Lord brings him to his knees, this “hero” will beg for God’s mercy and the righteous will laugh saying (Psalm 52:6-7):

“Here now is the man
    who did not make God his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth
    and grew strong by destroying others!”

Knowing that God will eventually bring this man to justice does not fill me with joyful laughter. While I wait for God’s justice, the evildoer destroys others.

If he is going to boast, he should not boast of his riches. If he is going to boast, he should not boast of his business successes. If he is going to boast, he should not boast of his knowledge. If he is going to boast, he should not boast of ratings.

If he is going to boast, let him boast that he knows the heart of God (Jeremiah 9:24).

24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
    that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
    justice and righteousness on earth,
    for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.

Selah

 

via Daily Prompt: Laughter

My Favorite Agitator

Daily Prompt: Churn

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , I am sharing an article I wrote about him about five years ago. The verb churn means to agitate. To agitate is to stir things up or to arouse public concern over an issue in the hope of prompting action. He certainly did that.

A Drum Major for Justice

My husband received a couple of books about Martin Luther King, Jr. as gifts – A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of MLK, Jr. and Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. [Stephen B. Oates]. I read part way through the first book and decided I would rather read the biography. The biography gave me a better understanding of the monumental struggle for racial equality in this country and a great appreciation for King’s inspirational leadership of his people. But reading about King’s life also taught me several lessons about standing up for social justice today.


1. God and Human Worth.  In explaining the timing of the civil rights movement, King noted that blacks had gradually learned to value themselves even as they continued to experience the humiliating effects of segregation and discrimination. One reason behind this increasing sense of self-worth was their Christian faith. When you believe that  you were created in God’s image and that God loved you enough to send his Son to die for your sins, you understand that you have worth as a human being regardless of your color.

 

Those of us who call the name of Jesus Christ find something at the center of our faith which forever reminds us that God is on the side of truth and justice.  – MLK, The Current Crisis in Race Relations

The worth of an individual does not lie in the measure of his intellect, his racial origin, or his social position. Human worth lies in his relatedness to God. – MLK, The Ethical Demands for Integration

 

King often referred to his brothers and sisters as “children of God.” The New Testament describes the believer’s relationship to God as a relationship based on faith in Christ, a relationship that is demonstrated by love for our fellow-man.

 

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:26-29

 

This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. – 1 John 3:10

 

2. Using God’s Gifts for Good. King was an intelligent man, educated, and well-read. He could have been an attorney or a college professor or lived the quiet, relatively peaceful life of a clergyman. Instead, he chose to help his people begin the struggle against oppression from the segregated city of Birmingham, Alabama. One of his greatest gifts was his way with words. He used colorful language and the tone of his voice to inspire, motivate and persuade. He repeated key phrases (“I have a dream…”) and sprinkled his speeches and writings with metaphors. In the I Have a Dream speech, he compared the march for justice to cashing a check that has been returned marked “insufficient funds.” He compared the Declaration of Independence to a promissory note. He understood the importance of choosing your words carefully because words can have negative connotations. He objected to the words “black power,” which could suggest violence and the same sort of racial supremacy that he was fighting against.

 

3. Shedding Light on the Darkness of our Times. King showed the world that the Emancipation Proclamation did not put an end to racism. Though blacks were no longer slaves, they still faced the degradation of segregation and discrimination one hundred years later. Today, fifty years after the March on Washington, it is shocking to me to read about the state of racial relations in our country at that time and to read about how hateful whites were towards blacks. Racial discrimination is a dark and ugly sickness of the soul that is completely at odds with God’s will. In my opinion, we have not come far enough in fifty years, but I am grateful that King exposed racism for the evil that it is. He made a difference.
4. Courage. It takes a great deal of spiritual courage to stand up for what is right, especially when you know that it puts your life at risk. King knew that his actions as a civil rights activist put him in physical danger and that he would likely lose his life for his cause. When he was arrested, he chose to be jailed rather than pay a fine because he wanted to highlight how unjust the laws were. He bravely led marches in some of the most racist cities in the South. He turned threats into opportunities. With his notoriety, being jailed brought national attention to the civil rights movement.
5. Serving Others. A couple of months before his assassination, in a sermon called “The Drum Major Instinct,” King preached about the natural instinct people have to be first. He quoted Jesus Christ who said “whosoever will be great among you, shall be your servant; and whosoever of you who will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.”

We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade. – MLK

Although King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, he wanted to be remembered as someone who gave his life to serving others, as a man who loved others, cared for the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the imprisoned.

 

If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for peace; I was a drum major for righteousness.

If I can do my duty as a Christian ought, if I can bring salvation to a world once wrought, if I can spread the message as the master taught, then my living will not be in vain.

6. Loving Your Enemies. Other civil rights activists chose to fight against racial inequality with violence; King chose to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. There was a moment when he hated whites for the way they treated blacks but he understood that hate begets hate; violence begets violence. He admired Gandhi and used Gandhi’s life as an example of how to live out Christ’s love in the pursuit of justice. King often talked about the concept of agape, the selfless, sacrificial kind of love described in the Bible. As Jesus noted, it is easy to love those who love you; anyone can do that.

 

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. – Matthew 5:43-48

7. God’s Redeeming Grace. King’s image as an American hero was tarnished by allegations that he was an adulterer. There is some evidence of this. J. Edgar Hoover was so determined to dig up dirt on King that the FBI bugged his hotel rooms and tapped his phone lines. I mention King’s sin last, not to minimize it, but because at the end of the day, even our heroes have feet of clay. The biographer, Stephen B. Oates, quoted King as saying that “Each of us is two selves and the great burden of life is to always try to keep that higher self in command. Don’t let the lower self take over.”

The apostle Paul wrote about his own struggle to keep the higher self in command (Romans 7:14-20). When Paul prayed about his own weaknesses, the Lord told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” To borrow King’s metaphor, God’s bank of mercy always has sufficient funds.

When I read about King’s  assassination, I felt grief even though he died years ago. He was a drum major for justice, for peace and for righteousness. I also feel thankful for his “marching band” – the unsung heroes of the civil rights movement. They marched for justice, rode the bus for justice, sat at segregated lunch counters for justice, even gave their lives for justice.

Here are King’s own words from his Nobel prize acceptance speech, wherein he honored the “ground crew” for enabling the “flights to freedom” to leave the ground:

 

Most of these people will never make the headlines and their names will not appear in Who’s Who. Yet the years have rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvelous age in which we live–men and women will know and children will be taught that we have a finer land, a better people, a more noble civilization–because these humble children of God were willing to suffer for righteousness’ sake.

We need more people in this world with the courage to stand up for justice. We need more people who know how to love sacrificially.

 

Shadowboxing My Way to Maturity

Sometimes we feel so validated by our inner voice of conscience, so sure of our internal convictions, that we confuse our own voice with the very voice of God. In rereading Richard Rohr’s book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, a passage about the deeper voice of God brought tears to my eyes. I hear a voice that sounds a lot like risk, trust, and surrender but I keep pushing it away because there is too much safety and security in my protective shell.

There is a deeper voice of God, which you must learn to hear and obey in the second half of life. It will sound an awful lot like the voices of risk, of trust, of surrender, of soul, of “common sense,” of destiny, of love, of an intimate stranger, of your deepest self, of soulful “Beatrice.” – Richard Rohr

Discharging my loyal soldier

Rohr wrote about how Japanese communities helped soldiers return to civilian life after World War II. Faithful soldiers were first thanked for their service and then were told, the war is now over. We need you to return as something other than a soldier. The communal ritual gave the returning soldiers the closure they needed to move on to the next phase of life. Rohr called this transition process “discharging your loyal soldier.”

Similarly, to grow spiritually in the second half of life, we must transition from an egocentric to a “soul-centric” worldview. We have to let go of or “discharge” the ego-driven “loyal soldier” that served us well in the first half of life. While the loyal soldier plays an important role in early life, giving our lives shape and purpose and stability, at some point, he starts holding us back from the life we were meant to live.

Who is my loyal soldier? What persona has served me so well in the first part of life? I would describe my loyal soldier as a dutiful Guardian, the name David Kiersey calls the Sensing Judging personality type. “Guardians are the cornerstone of society, for they are the temperament given to serving and preserving our most important social institutions.” Guardians are concerned with rules and procedures and right versus wrong, with making sure that people do what they are supposed to do. Guardians police social behavior by laying out the should’s and should not’s.

In his book, Please Understand Me II, Kiersey used the phrase “preoccupied with morality” to describe the Guardian personality type. I am not flattered by that description. I see the sinfulness in myself and I see how much I have struggled to do what I know to be right. I see that when I try to attack evil, I produce an ugliness in myself – anger, impatience, condescension, hypocrisy. And most importantly, I see the beauty of forgiveness and grace.

I have learned to let go of my innate compulsion to control or dictate what other people do and to let God do the work of changing people.  I am free to be something other than a finger-pointing Guardian of morality. I am free to be the grace dispenser I was meant to be.

Shadowboxing with myself

Rohr said that your persona represents how you choose to identify yourself and what other people expect from you. But we also have a shadow self – the parts we don’t want other people to see and that we don’t want to see in ourselves. He said that we never get to the second half of spiritual life without engaging in the inner work of shadowboxing with this false self.

Growing spiritually means letting go of the false self. For me, the self that filters and censors herself is a false self. The self that protects people from hearing anything critical, even when it is for their own good, is a false self. The self that avoids offending fellow Christians when she knows that God is on the side of justice and mercy – this is my false self.

Unfortunately, the work of confronting our own faults never ends. I am learning to face my faults, my contradictions, my fears. Just as David did long ago, I’ve invited God to shine a light on my faults.

Search me God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).

Getting out of my foxhole

Early in life, I learned to go into self-protection mode when I felt threatened by too much attention or too much social stimulation. I was socially awkward and easily embarrassed so I withdrew into my protective shell, my foxhole. If I kept quiet, I wouldn’t say the wrong thing or the right thing at the wrong time. If I didn’t approach other people, they wouldn’t reject me.

In contrast to the analytical, thinking me, my Protector is the sensitive, feeling part of me. My Protector is considerate of other people. She has empathy. She doesn’t want other people to feel bad. She doesn’t like to criticize. She respects the fact that other people have a right to their own opinions so she avoids controversy and conflict.

Now, I find that the self-protective mode that served me well in the first part of life keeps me from being obedient to the deeper voice of God. No one can hurt me. I don’t have to prove that I am worthy because I know that God loves me just as I am. I have experienced the power of God’s grace. My protector has outlived her usefulness.

I no longer want to be silent about my faith because I am afraid of offending someone, whether it is atheists or other Christians. When I hear Christians complaining about welfare recipients, I want to speak out on behalf of the poor. When I hear Christians say that we should live in fear of gays or Muslims, I want to talk about God’s love for all people. When Christians say that we should turn our backs on refugees, I want to ask them, what would Jesus do? But instead of speaking up, I hide in my foxhole and avoid confrontation.

I hear the voice of God calling me to be a voice for justice and mercy, to be a voice for genuine Christian discipleship. He has shown me that my purpose in life is not accounting; it is loving other people as I love myself. My purpose in life is not making sure that everyone follows my rules. It is seeing to it that no one misses out on the grace of God. I hear the voice of mercy with tear-filled eyes.

I hear the deeper voice of God telling me to bravely, courageously, and gently speak up. He did not give me a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). The thought of obeying this call is frightening. It means going against what feels comfortable and safe. It means stepping out of my foxhole and possibly into the line of fire, even from fellow Christians.

I will be honest, fear has held me back all too often. Rohr wrote, “once you have faced your own hidden or denied self, there is not much to be anxious about anymore, because there is no fear of exposure – to yourself or to others.”

I’ve said goodbye to my loyal soldier. Now it is time for me to get out of my foxhole, to say hello to the voice of risk, to surrender to the voice of mercy and love.

 

 

 

 

 

SMH @ u 2

Dear Christian Friend,

Recently you shared a meme on Facebook calling CNN reporters liars because they reported that the people of Puerto Rico are not getting the aid they need. Indignantly, you commented, SMH!

Well, my dear, I am shaking my head at you too. You say you are a Christian. You frequently share posts about your faith. But I’m not seeing Jesus in you. And if I, as a follower of Jesus Christ, can’t see Jesus in you, what are all the non-believers thinking?

You claim to worship the God of Abraham, the God who gave Moses the commandment not to kill. After every mass shooting, instead of mourning the senseless loss of life, you are among the first to stand up in defense of inanimate objects that were designed to kill people. You worry that the government will take away the right to bear arms, even those military-style weapons designed to maximize carnage. It is sad to see you care more about your “rights” and about objects than you do about innocent human beings.

You portray yourself as a good, patriotic American, so much so that you were disgusted and enraged when black Americans took to their knees to protest racial injustice while the national anthem plays. Clearly, you love the flag and the anthem, symbols of this great nation. There is a lot to love about this country and about the brave men and women who have defended its ideals, including the freedom of speech and freedom of religion. But you have made a religion out of patriotism and think you have the right to demand that others practice it. You freely express your opinions yet think you have the right to determine how someone else expresses theirs.

This nation is far from perfect. Its greatness has been tarnished by racism and other forms of injustice from the beginning. God has shown this nation what is good. And what does He ask of those who trust in Him? That we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:8). Yet you refuse to see the injustices in the criminal justice system. You refuse to extend compassion and mercy to the oppressed. You refuse to even listen when black Americans tell you that their lives matter. It is sad to see you care more about symbols and a song than about human beings.

You have made an idol out of killing tools. You have made an idol out of patriotism. I shake my head in disgust at this. But I shake my head in shame at the mockery you have made of Christianity.

You’ve made no secret of your hatred of Obama and your adulation of Trump. You shared a meme that showed President Obama saying that this is not a Christian nation. Below the photo of Obama was a photo of your president holding a Bible.  If you believe what that meme suggests (and you must or you would not share it), you are actively making a  mockery of the Christian faith.

I don’t know whether Obama actually said that America is not a Christian nation but if he did, he would have been right. According to Barna, the organization that conducts surveys of religious beliefs, 73% of Americans identify themselves as Christians. But only 31% of Americans are “practicing Christians” – those who attend church services at least once a month. And I am convinced, that if it were possible to look inside the hearts of church-going folks, you would see an even smaller percentage of people who actually understand what Jesus was trying to teach us about love and forgiveness, grace, justice, and mercy.

If you think that not standing up for the national anthem is disrespectful, equating your president with the Christian faith is downright blasphemous. You don’t become a Christian by holding a Bible. You don’t become a Christian by pretending to fight a war on Christianity, e.g. defending the right to say “Merry Christmas.” The only way to be saved is to confess your sins and to repent. Yet your chosen one has publicly stated that he does not believe he needs to repent or ask for forgiveness.

You claim to be a Christian with good moral values. But non-Christians see that you have put your faith in a man who is as anti-Christ as a person can be. You condone his behavior. The fruit of the Spirit, the evidence that a person follows Jesus, is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It is not hating and threatening your enemies. It is not anger and rage. It is not insulting and demeaning people who don’t praise you. It is not sowing discord and division. It is not uncontrolled twitter rants. It is most certainly not worshiping yourself.

Go ahead and call me judgmental. Call me a “libtard” if it makes you feel better. But please, please, please, stop calling yourself a Christian if you don’t follow Christ. Stop calling yourself a Christian if you don’t love your neighbor. Stop calling yourself a Christian if you follow an ungodly man. And most importantly, stop turning people away from Jesus with your hypocrisy.

Dear friend, we pray to the same God. I pray for you. I pray that God will soften your heart. I pray that you will have eyes that see and ears that hear. I don’t want you to be one of the hypocrites Jesus spoke about – the ones who will come to him saying, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name and perform many miracles? And he will say to them, I never knew you.

You proudly say that you stand for the flag and kneel for the cross. When you kneel for the cross, you stand up for justice. When you kneel for the cross, you stand up for mercy. When you kneel for the cross, you walk humbly before your God. When you kneel for the cross, you love God with all of your heart, all of your mind, all of your soul and all of your spirit. When you kneel for the cross, you love your neighbor as yourself.

What does the Lord require of me?

November 8, 2016 was a spiritual turning point for me – the date that my country, a nation founded on the principle that we are all created equal, elected as its president a man who promotes bigotry. The election outcome was the catalyst for some deep soul-searching on my part. I am one of the 19% of white evangelicals who voted against Trump because his self-centered and meanspirited message is antithetical to the gospel. That voting statistic alone makes me question the purpose of American evangelism. But the election also shed light on my own purpose and need for spiritual growth in a way that only something really dark can do.

When I think about how soul-changing this election is for me, I am reminded of another important date in my spiritual journey – April 20, 1999. That was the day that two high school seniors massacred twelve students and a teacher at Columbine High School. It shook me to the core. Safe and secure in my suburban oasis, I had not attended church in years. Columbine reminded me how much darkness and evil there is in the world and reawakened my desire to “walk in the light, as he is in the light.” An unimaginable tragedy renewed my faith in God and reaffirmed whose side I am on.

The presidential election also shook me to the core. My prayers were not answered, but my faith was strengthened. The election showed me how significantly politics and propaganda have corrupted American evangelism over the past few decades, but also confirmed my purpose as a wholehearted disciple of Jesus:  to love my neighbor as myself. I sought and found comfort and courage from others who share my sorrow and my desire to make the world a kinder, more loving place to those who don’t know Jesus.

In trying to figure out where to go from here, reflecting on my desire for social justice, I find myself drawn to the words of the prophet Micah:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8, NIV)

Empathy

My sorrow at Trump’s election stems from empathy for my neighbors – not just the ones in my mostly white, upwardly mobile neighborhood. To love your neighbor as you love yourself requires the ability to see with the eyes of another, hear with the ears of another and feel with the heart of another. Empathy is the ability to step outside of your own emotions, out of your own self-centered point of view, and to see things from the perspective of another.

For me, the seeds of empathy were sown when I was a child living in poverty in a small town in the Midwest. I was ashamed when people in our community looked down on me and my family because we were poor, especially when we lived on public assistance after my parents’ divorce. My shyness made me feel even more socially inadequate. I felt like there was something wrong with me because I didn’t open up to people or make friends easily. I understood what it feels like to be marginalized because people don’t think you are good enough.

By loving me for who I am, by forgiving my sins, by providing everything I need, God showed me what is good – love and mercy. He showed me my inherent worth and the worth of all human beings. He planted a seed of empathy in my heart.

Justice

I did not realize how deeply the seed of empathy had been planted in me and how well God had watered it until I started thinking about the social issues that face our country today. Like Martin Luther King, Jr., I believe that we should be judged based on the content of our character and not the color of our skin. I believe in the American Dream, that we should all have the opportunity to reach our God-given potential regardless of the circumstances of our birth. I am concerned about income inequality because I have seen how corporate America takes care of those at the top, even if they don’t perform. I feel for Muslims and others who might face religious discrimination because I believe in the freedom to choose what to believe. The LGBT community deserves to be treated with compassion because we are all human beings, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status.

The founding fathers of my country recognized that we are all created equal. They wrote that our Creator gave us certain unalienable rights, rights that should not be restrained by human laws – rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, our founders were fallible human beings who did not extend these rights to everyone. Others had to fight for social justice.

Mercy

To be merciful is to be forgiving and compassionate and to not give people what they deserve. Most of us want mercy because we are imperfect and we make mistakes. We want a second chance. We want the benefit of the doubt. But while we want mercy for ourselves, we tend to want justice when others do wrong. We think they should have to pay for what they did. But you can’t have it both ways. If you want mercy, in all fairness, you must be merciful yourself.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy (Matthew 5:7,  NIV). It is easy for me to be compassionate towards people I like but Jesus set a much higher standard. He said, love your enemies, even pray for them. He said “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:36, NIV). God is kind to the ungrateful and to the wicked. He makes his sun shine on both the evil and the good. He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:44-45).

Understanding 

After the election, when I shared my grief on Facebook, my uncle told me to consider the points of view of people who are distressed about the direction the country is going. He said that millions of people prayed for divine intervention and that when we pray that God’s will be done, we must accept it. The implication was that since Trump won, he is God’s answer to what ails America. Although I believe that God does have a plan for mankind and his plan includes letting the wicked rule nations, I would caution anyone who assumes that Trump has God’s blessing. Read the Sermon on the Mount. Read the parable of The Good Shepherd. Read the parable of the sheep and the goats.

While I empathize with those who worry about the economy, sexual immorality, terrorism, and other issues, I do not believe that God wants this nation to put its trust in a selfish con man. No matter how hard I try, I can’t understand how good people can put their trust in a man who promotes hatred against the “others.” Donald Trump showed me the kind of man he is with every careless word out of his mouth. Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Jesus said that a wicked man brings evil out of the evil stored up in him. I have no reason to believe that Donald Trump will suddenly become a righteous man who does good things just because evangelicals voted for him.

Those of us who mourned the results of the election have been told to shut up, suck it up, stop throwing stones at sinners, stop using all those words (bigot, misogynist, racist, xenophobic, etc.) that describe Donald Trump to a T. These words just divide us, they say. The truth is, these words make Trump’s supporters uncomfortable. By attempting to silence those of us who reveal Trump for what he is, they are doing what they can to try to reduce that psychological tension known as cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort we feel when our beliefs or behaviors conflict with each other. So they tell themselves that a conservative Supreme court nominee is more important than any of the unrighteous things Donald Trump has said and done. They tell themselves that the fiscal deficit is more important than Christian values. They tell themselves that everything will be okay if Trump just surrounds himself with good advisors. They tell themselves that Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt politician that ever lived.

I will never understand how Trump’s supporters, especially the Christians, were able to strike a political bargain with an evil man. You give me X, I’ll ignore that command to love your neighbor as yourself. But I can understand the power of deception. We were bombarded with more propaganda and outright deception during this campaign than ever before. And I understand the power of confirmation bias. We are prone to disregard facts that conflict with our preconceived notions.

What does the Lord require of me

For many of us, Trump’s victory was a call to justice, a call to stand up for the oppressed and the marginalized. I don’t yet know what this will look like for me but I am praying that God will put my compassion into action. I certainly never imagined myself as an activist but maybe that is why God gave me the courage to quit my meaningless job just a  month before the election.

The discomfort of the good people who voted for Trump has shown me that I need to be merciful to them. I don’t know what they are struggling with or how they were able to come to a decision that I could never make. I do know that no good will come from constantly criticizing their decision. What is done is done. I will give them the benefit of the doubt. I will pray for them because I believe they will eventually realize that they made a huge mistake.

And as much as I don’t want to, I will pray for the wicked man who will soon occupy the most powerful position in this country. He doesn’t know my Lord but I want him to be a good leader. I want him to be a good man. I want him to walk humbly with my God. My God is merciful to the wicked and the unrighteous and that’s what he requires of me.