By: Tera Ertz
It has been several months since I have written here, and I wanted to say a huge thank you to my dear friend Stacy Swimp for his persistent invitation to once again begin contributing to Contagious Transformations, and more importantly for his understanding when I hesitated. Toward the end of last year, I had an epiphany that led to a rather dramatic shift in focus of what I had been writing. I had spent months talking politics on Facebook, on my own blog, and here, and I had become tired and discouraged because I realized I was saying the same things, to the same people, reading the same headlines in the news, for years. Far from improving the situation in the political debates I had been a part of, I noticed that the atmosphere had become toxic not only between liberals and conservatives, but even between men and women who claimed to be on the same side but had differences of opinion on policy issues, priorities and underlying philosophy. I began to withdraw from the political arena, and at the same time was led to focus far more intensely on my faith.
I began posting prayers on Facebook, and I began writing the God Talk series there that will soon be published as a book on Amazon. I still skimmed the news, but most of my reading was filled by a thirst for the Bible and a greater understanding of the history of the world as God’s story. As I studied the stories of God, I realized what I had been missing in politics for so long, and what so many had lost along the way. God is a being of relationships. When the disciples asked Jesus what the greatest commands of the law were, Jesus responded:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV)
Jesus didn’t tell us that the greatest commands were convince your political opponents to agree with you. He didn’t say reach for your God stick when other arguments aren’t working for you. He didn’t say talk at each other and don’t listen. He said first, love God, second love men, and the rest will follow. God is also a being of grace. When discussing how to deal with those who opposed them, or those that would cause them harm, Jesus told the disciples:
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 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. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48, NIV)
As I have been pondering these instructions from the man I have claimed as Savior for most of my life, the man so many of my friends profess to follow as well, I began to realized just how very short of perfection we all had fallen, especially in the arena of politics.
The rest tomorrow my friends.