Someone told me on Twitter that I had been ‘mind-f**ked’ on Twitter today.
Of course she was a Christian, so she apologized for her bad language afterwards.
Everyone has their pet issues. There are some evangelicals out there who latch on to two main issues–I won’t name them here until I’ve prepared the way a little bit–and some Christians use these issues as an excuse to go ape-shit on any other Christian who doesn’t match their viewpoint on these issues.
I explained to this person that the Republican Party has been promising Evangelicals for years, probably decades, to do something about these two issues, and they never have. I told her that I had decided that the one issue that was most important to me was fiscal conservatism.
Obviously, she didn’t like that.
Look, I get it. Everyone has their issues. But some Christians have it in their mind that they are going to save the world through political means, through strictly external means, and it is not going to happen.
You change the world when the inside changes first. You ‘clean the inside of the cup’ first.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
There’s a lot of cleaning-up that needs to be done on the inside–cleaning the Holy Spirit needs to do. All the old ideas of God-outside have to go. ‘It’s Christ in me, the hope of glory.’ Suddenly the world turns upside down. Suddenly the talking points all start seeming dumb, or off-balance.
Suddenly the world inside becomes the place you get your power and your direction from–the spirit of God both speaking within you and empower you.
The path you were supposed to take before you started to tune into that inner witness suddenly becomes fuzzy. You’re not acting strictly with your rational mind any more. Other people are talking, but you don’t react strictly to their words, you start seeing the meaning behind the words.
You learn how to love people, no matter who they are.
The lady who attacked me on Twitter–part of me expected her to do that. She was clearly off-balance and living from a strict inner conviction, a severe case of dualism: right and wrong, black and white, rather than the leading of the Holy Spirit. Suddenly you start asking questions that fall outside of people’s expectations. You start saying things they’re not ready for. You’re so different that you become offensive. And then they lash out.
It’s all right. It’s not you, it’s them. When you’re walking in the Spirit, you have the guidance you need. You can still check–Lord, was I in the wrong here? Am I really what she said I am?–and the answer is, ‘nah, you did good.’ You make mistakes, but you know beforehand that you’re pressing against something. It’s like an invisible wall that you can choose to press through, or you can choose to step back. God doesn’t wall us in, but he does provide direction to us that we can sense and feel.
During this election season, turn in. Rest in the Spirit. If you start acting from fear or anger, you’re going to make mistakes. Get back to your calm place–the centering that comes with the Holy Spirit–and you’ll be able to go the right direction, even if the world seems like it’s exploding around you. Even if it’s just a virtual explosion on Twitter.
One final thing–don’t bother saying ‘we’re praying for Brussels’ unless you’re actually willing to do something. ‘God, what can I do here?’ is always a valid question. The answer might be, ‘vote for that candidate you hate.’ The answer might be, ‘Nothing, right now.’ Or maybe there’s an old friend who suddenly comes to mind, and you feel you need to call them. You can’t do everything. You might not be able to go to Brussels and actually help, but you can do what the Spirit directs you to do–and that’s good enough.
Don’t let peoples’ expectations rain on your parade. So many Christians have an idea of how other Christians should act, and if you go outside of the box, they’ll either shame you into getting back into your box or get angry at you because you’re bold and fearless and you say, ‘no, you’re not going to control me.’ Then you rely on that inner witness to get through. Maybe it’ll calm down. Maybe you’ll never talk to them again. But that’s OK.
It’s going to be a long eight months until the final election. Make sure you know where your direction is coming from. Ignore the Pharisees–they’re just full of corruption and they’ll either hit the wall later, break, and get free, or they’ll grow old and die in their ivory towers, as they slowly decay and keep judging people. But you’ll go on, gradually getting free, and gradually things will become clearer.