I saw something yesterday that I can't shake. It's niggling me. I saw a man. Let me explain. I watched a speech by President Obama. Now, before you start stepping onto your band wagon or soap box, sit back down, this isn't one of those posts.
No I didn't see a demon or a savior, as he is so often painted. I saw a man. A man with tired eyes, graying hair, and a flat voice. I could be wrong but it appeared to me I saw a man loosing heart. A man who has been fighting a battle far bigger than himself for longer than he has the resources or energy.
Ideologically I don't agree with President Obama. Actually when he was elected, to be honest, I flipped out. But I'm not flipping out anymore and quite frankly I have little interest in elections and politics and such. Not because I'm embittered more because I'm liberated. Living in the Kingdom of God here and now, destined for the Kingdom of God later, is perspective changing.
Previously, I saw President Obama as the enemy. But I don't anymore. He's not our enemy. Our own hate is. If we have been born into the family of God through the sacrifice of Jesus and power of the Holy Spirit we have very few enemies. Death isn't our enemy, it's been defeated; people aren't our enemy, God is greater; circumstances aren't our enemy, they are temporary.
No, our greatest enemy is our own self. Our own pride, lust, fear, or indifference; they are the enemy of intimacy with God. Not the president.
And yet I see sound bites and words flying across the internet and hear conversations that drip with vitriol and disdain. But the president shouldn't be our enemy. He should be the focus of our prayers and compassion. We all want a scape goat, and President Obama is a natural target, but he's the wrong one. No one person ruins a country. We all have.
I think there is enough gluttony, self-centeredness, apathy, and prayerlessness to go around for us to all indulge in a little humility and repentance. What concerns me is our pride. How can we speak about grace for others but not offer it to the president, as if he's too bad for it? But God says he expects something different from his children.
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God... rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.... Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:1,8,12
If we are raised in rebirth with Jesus Christ our real life is in him, and his leadership is unshakable no matter who is president. Fear is improper for people living in the reality of eternity. Malicious, hateful words have no place in our speech, they are a denial of our birthright of grace. I have no doubt God meant that applies to all people we speak to or about, from our children to our president. If we join in the mudslinging debate we are wallowing in the filth of this world. Clothing ourselves in compassion, humility and gentleness lifts us above that mess.
Yesterday, for the first time, I saw a man. And I repented from my slander and hate. I prayed for compassion and kind eyes. And I prayed that I, and my brothers and sisters, would do my part in the reformation of society. Not by yelling at the unrighteous but by living in bold conviction and authentic love.
It is our duty to speak up for the unborn, the poor, the disabled. It's also our responsibility to care for them. It's not our duty or right to turn that love for the needy into hate for others. Certainly we can speak about what is good and right for all people without ungracious words for someone else.
If God had treated us with the gracelessness we have a tendency to treat others with, when we were dead in our sin, what hope would we have had? I'm thankful he's not like us but that we can become like him. I invite you. Look and see a man. A man that needs grace, just like you.