“In those days there was no king in Israel;
everyone did what was right in his own eyes”
Where there is a lack of vision and leadership people will make up their own rules.
We have the right to select our own priest and our leader. Do not forget–someone is going to lead. At this point there is a mob seeking to take control. That mob does not have the best interest of our country at heart. There are protesters and there are rioters. As long as the “protesters” move with the rioters, they are as complicit.
We have been warned. Benjamin Franklin said, “…if we can keep it.” Several of our godly prophets and writers have repeated that admonition. The reason we have a Declaration of Independence and The Constitution is because the Founders and Framers saw that Americans could manage themselves politically because they had shown they could manage themselves personally. The people in the streets are showing they cannot manage themselves. It has been said, “they have no choice but to riot.” That suggests they are being controlled.
I saw a Twitter picture this afternoon putting President Trump on one side standing in front of St. John’s Church holding up a Bible. On the right side, a picture of President Bill Clinton in front of St. John’s Church holding up a Bible. I remember seeing Clinton’s photo with Bible aloft, but I cannot confirm (from my memory) he was in front of St. John’s Church. (Photoshop may have been employed. I doubt it, but don’t know.) The Tweet has been taken down—at least I can’t find it. Clinton was said to have been celebrated for his faith demonstration, while Trump is castigated for his manipulative “photo op.”
Let me tell you how I perceived what went on the other day in Lafayette Park. I saw President Trump being a godly leader and responding to God’s invitation to Joshua:
“Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon, I have given you….”
Our duly elected president was reclaiming what evil attempted to steal. He stood in front of the St John’s Church with Bible in hand to restate this land has a biblical foundation and prophetically saying God is calling us to repentance, justice and righteousness. My perception is that he was putting himself in submission to God’s Word from which comes our foundation of laws.
Some news people, politicians and some religious leaders interpreted our President’s action according to their prejudged perception. They cannot imagine this President could do anything of value. Several politicians and religious people said, “If he would open the Bible—maybe he could learn something….” How do they know whether Mr. Trump reads the Bible or not?
The perception is that there is no redemption for Trump. They keep calling him immoral. Are they contending that his sexual sins of the past still dominate his behavior today? Some of my mentors are close to this administration and see Trump as a flawed, sinful man in a faith journey. Can his antagonists claim a more direct route to God?
As long as the mental filters of their voices and behaviors deny grace, redemption and a yielded heart can change Mr. Trump, they block it for themselves/ourselves.
The most important liberal assessment tool in a more civil age was, “I cannot attribute motivation….” But every critic seems to know our President’s every thought 24/7. How magnificently brilliant! I thought only God had that ability–attribute.
My head and heart are having difficulty in getting a grip on what is going on. Men and women spiritual leaders—some who are my go-to people for understanding situations—are attacking the president. Some are saying his holding the Bible was a political “trick.” Am I to believe that many of my mentors—writers, speakers, pastors, evangelists, non-clergy, but serious disciples in other leadership callings—have been hoodwinked and seduced by the most wretched person ever to walk the earth? Can I be naïve and stupid enough to be another lemming?
My great concern is not about Mr. Trump. This is not a defense of this president, but the presidency. I fear for the outcome. I can take you to the parking lot in front of a laundromat in Salina, Kansas when I learned about God’s judgment. All He has to do is “lift His hand” from us. No hurricane needed. It is easier when you don’t believe in God—non-believers don’t need to worry about anything that a “god” would do. For those who believe Jehovah involves Himself in the affairs of men sense He raises nations and raises leaders. The patience of God is long, but as the Bible says in a non-judgmental statement of secular fact:
“Be not deceived; God will not be mocked; whatsoever you sow, that you will also reap”
I have wrestled with 2 Chronicles 7:14 for months. I share what it says to me:
If My people will…
To humble oneself is to agree that I am not the center of the universe. As a Follower of Jesus, we are called from the sidelines. This is not a call to sympathy—feeling sorry for a person’s hurt, but empathy—to walk with and to enter into a person’s pain. That is a hard assignment and nearly impossible. I can’t enter into a black brother’s experience, but I can walk in step with him. I can ask him questions about his hurt or whatever he is experiencing. I can keep quiet and buy him a coffee as he thinks without telling me anything. I can guard his back when he cries or screams.
Seems this is only possible if there a relationship.
Humbling oneself is to live a humility-driven life and lifestyle. I don’t know everything! It is possible that I have gotten some things wrong. It is possible I have concluded wrongly because I was taught or assumed/consumed inaccurate information. Maybe I’ve made agreements—Brene Brown’s statement can be stretched here: “I don’t have enough facts to freak out!”
One more avenue: Humbling oneself does not demand that you abandon all you know or all you think to be true. Humility demands that we examine what we “know” and “believe.” It is asking the Holy Spirit to “Examine me and know my heart.” (Psalm 51)
Humility is a motivator—look into things. Ask questions, search out things. I have not understood Institutional Racism, nor did I want to. It is a bit clearer now. It is more than rhetoric and I have repented. I’ve read biographies. Some of those people of color are now my heroes. When we heard the stories of a family from Somalia, we were enlightened and able to extend a measure of empathy. Humility calls forth our curiosity–What does this mean? What is going on, here? What is my role in creating and solving hurt?
Be intentional what you choose to read and embrace. Know the writer’s bias and especially what they want you to conclude and to do. What is their “Therefore…?”
The bottom line of marketing is—the consumer defines value. The seller cannot define value for the buyer. Service must have value to the people we serve. Service is not about doing something we think is noble, therefore, helpful to the needy.
Carole and I were involved in a Maundy Thursday event where the men washed the feet of their wives as an act of humility and service. I am not a method actor, but I asked the question. “What are we trying to say by washing feet?” The answer was, “Just do it.” Wasn’t a satisfactory answer!
Carole hated it! I was glad to do it. I’m not too proud to serve that way. I rub lotion on her feet when they hurt. But we were both uncomfortable and it was meaningless. It had no value. The server’s quest is always “What can I do?” “How can I help?”
“If My people will humble themselves….”
©2020 D. Dean Benton