When the news broke over the weekend and I was gathering information as it came through my Twitter feed, I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to react to the horror in Charlottesville. I knew that I was upset that something like this is still happening in America. How can hate, racism and violence like this still happen?
Then the incident in the above photo happened. I have yet to watch any video of it because I don’t want to get even more upset over the injuries and death of the victims be embedded in my mind.
My heart is broken. I am sad. I am angry. I am wondering why this is happening.
Many times throughout my Christian faith journey when horrific things happen, I try to ask myself what the best reaction to it is. It’s OK to be angry and sad, but what would be the next Christian thing to do? The most obvious choice would be to profess love and peace in the name of Christ.
Sadly, that isn’t what I have seen from every person that I know who claim to be Christians.
Even though this is a small percentage, I find it troubling that the message of the Lord’s love and peace is not the first message that’s sent out. Instead, the messages and reactions (mostly seen on social media) is of political retaliation. (It’s easier to hide and do this on social media than in person after all.)
I saw posts of Christians who are so into their identity as a Republican finding fighting words to call out Democrats in this situation. They use images of the KKK saying that it was the Democrats who were against Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves. Or it’s some of those jargon of snowflakes and triggered and other nonsense to belittle the Democrats.
I see posts of Christians who identify as Democrats who attack the Republicans by generalizing all white supremacists as conservatives and all the blame falls on President Donald Trump because he enables this kind of behavior. They say that we have to fight against the Republicans because this is all their fault.
My reaction to all this is WHY?
Why are these Christians’ first reaction to pain and suffering is to point fingers and accuse one another? Not one of their post in regards to this horrific incident speaks of Christ. Instead it’s as if Christ isn’t even part of their being and that political affiliation is their own identity.
This is troubling because it’s part of the problem we are in right now.
The identity of Christians is so muddled right now we don’t even know what a Christian is supposed to look like in today’s day and age. Is a Christian supposed to be a Democrat or Republican? Would Jesus vote for Trump? Are Christians supposed to oppose everyone who isn’t like them?
This is the problem because Christians aren’t supposed to be obsessed with these things.
One of the reasons why I don’t care about politics and don’t follow its stupidity is because it divides people. Political parties are designed to separate people. You are supposed to pick a side and that is your identity. So many people right now use their political affiliation as their identity. It’s sad when Christians decide that their political affiliation is more prevalent to their identity than Jesus Christ.
But that’s the fight we are in. So many people who claim to be Christian believe that a good follower of Christ MUST agree with the Republicans’ way. And on the other side of the spectrum there are so many believe a follower of Christ MUST believe in the Democrats’ way. Both are so hardcore that the political affiliation is bigger than Jesus.
NOTHING IS BIGGER THAN JESUS.
And so as I watch this horror unfold over the weekend, another horror crept in: Christianity is losing its way.
This is like the ugliness I saw leading up to the election. Christians who were so caught up in politics found more time posting about how their party was better than the other party; memes would be their weapon of choice on all social platforms. It drowned out nearly every single message of Christ — which is so needed during these times.
If we are Christian and our first reaction to acts of violence, hate, racism is to accuse people associated with a certain political party, I think it’s clear that you have missed the message of Christ and being a Christ follower. As Christians, our identity is in Christ and not in our politics. Our first thoughts need to always be Christ-centered. Our reactions to pain and hurt needs to always be Christ-centered. During these times, pointing figures and accusing is most definitely not what Jesus would do.
This is a call for all Christians to wake up. If you’re so into politics that it’s more important than speaking of Christ, time to change. If you’re a Christian that is afraid to speak up against the hate of the world, it’s time to change.
The world needs the message of Christ and we as Christians need to send that message. It’s the most important message we have and at a time like this, it’s the most powerful thing we have too.
No more politics. No more accusations. No more staying in the back. Christ isn’t about that. Christ is bigger than all of that. Let His voice be our voice.
“No matter who is president, Jesus is still King.”
That was a very common saying during the election season as politics were dividing Christians. It remains true today. As a true Christian, it doesn’t matter what your political party is — Jesus is the only one that needs to matter.