Do you have to agree with someone to bear with them? Is it necessary to perfectly support a solution, in order that God’s will be done?
As a Christian, it does not make sense to hide in the cleft of the rock from a world that has long been crazy-making. It does not make sense to cluster ourselves in places of least strategy, and hope that prayer will make up for the need for prayer combined with prayerful action. It is not helpful to criticize movements we refuse to be witness to. What help is it to decide who is worthy of Christ?
Before I was a Christian, I was so turned off by this side of the church. Though I had Christian classmates who would accept me if I said the exact same things as their parents, it was painful to notice them keeping their happy families and community to themselves, while I was still completely miserable. I wanted to get to know the Christian kids, but as soon as I was honest about my brokenness and the brokenness of my family, entire sections of my junior high and high school would cease to attempt to share the gospel with me or dare keep my company.
If Christians were able to simply bear with the people who need us, who remain broken, who don’t have the hope of Christ, then maybe we would be less mocked by people seeking justice. If we didn’t demand on being in charge and were willing to humble ourselves to become servants as Christ was, then maybe we’d be less mocked for hypocrisy. If we could be like Emmanuel, “God with us”, then maybe people would come to Jesus willingly, instead of through coercion, and out of a spirit that isn’t his.
I am so sick of people in the United States assuming that you have to perfect understand or agree with someone else in order to keep their company. If we don’t show up and reach out to God with prayers of intercession, how dare we criticize the solutions the world has created on it’s own? How dare we assume that we have the right to judge people when we don’t become one with them in the mess? How can we ask others to take God seriously if we don’t mourn with them or demonstrate a full depiction of a life with overwhelming faith? How can we ask people to take Jesus seriously if we don’t even believe he is able to move right here at home?
While it may sound democratic, the desire to remember people who remain desperate is a God thing; it isn’t about politics. If you have faith, you will abide with people in their misery, you will accompany them to places of mourning, you will allow God to make you uncomfortable in order to be a witness.
My reaction to protests, to pain, and to systemic denial of problems of Christians is part of my own journey of faith. God overcame the wounds that well-meaning but fearful Christians gave me, and he is gathering enough strength in me to hope for better. I abandon my right to being right. I abandon my hope to an opinion. I surrender to not knowing how to fix it. I would rather become one with the person who similarly doesn’t know.
Even if God will fix it, we still don’t know how. We continue praying to God, and because the promises he has given us, we keep hoping for opportunities to move as he moves. If we stay still and forget the importance of the gospel despite politics, we fall asleep and deny Jesus among us. If we have the power to intercede and ask God to fix it, we have no excuse to not show up.