Following Jesus Between #metoo and #falselyaccused
How to be a faithful steward amidst the conflict
“Who is telling the truth?”
That question has dominated our national dialogue since September 16th when the Washington Post published the allegations of Christine Ford, and Brett Kavanaugh issued a vehement denial. Many were riveted to their testimonies last Thursday and likely there will be more drama this week as the FBI carries out its investigation and reports its findings.
Pundits on both sides have called this a defining moment in modern American history. I agree. There is unprecedented anger on both sides that is deepening the chasm that divides us. Regardless of the outcome, one side will be furious and their wrath will be felt across all sectors of our society for years, perhaps decades.
What does this have to do with the Steward’s Journey? Well, everything. Here’s why. We have been calling the body of Christ to embrace the fully surrendered life of a faithful steward. For stewards, everything in life belongs to God and our sole calling is to know the will of the owner and to do it faithfully.
‘Everything’ includes our attitudes and perspectives. Be honest with yourself, when the question ‘who is telling the truth?’ first emerged, did you immediately choose sides? I believe most all of us did. If we supported the Supreme Court nominee, we believed he was telling the truth. If we opposed the nominee, we immediately believed the accuser. Then, with our predetermined blinders on, what our eyes saw and our ears heard validated what our minds had already decided.
Notice how many times I used ‘my’ and ‘our’? Therein lies the problem. In moments like these, we must not, as followers of Jesus, seal off our attitudes and perspectives from the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit. We must not become ‘owners’ at this critical juncture. Our attitudes belong to God, and we are faithful only when we surrender them back to Him and seek His will for how they are shaped and held.
What does it look like to be a steward of our attitudes and perspectives? Let me offer three disciplines for the follower of Jesus who seeks to be a faithful steward in this critical moment.
- Pray before you judge. Ask God to guide your heart, to unveil dark attitudes that are not aligned with kingdom values, and to help you listen with fresh ears attuned to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Ask for the Spirit’s help to set aside your own biases and presuppositions, and let the Spirit work in you. It’s a good time for all of us to be praying David’s prayer, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
- Surrender your right to be angry. There’s a lot of ‘righteous indignation’ being thrown around at times like this. People believe that being on the right side of the argument (which people on both sides believe) grants them permission to vilify those who oppose them and cut off all forms of dialogue as a result. As followers of Jesus we must reject all such temptations. Even if we are confident in our belief, we must have Jesus’ admonition ringing in our ears, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be the children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:44)
- Make a redemptive response. If our attitudes are truly guided by the Holy Spirit, our only possible response will be redemptive. We will look for opportunities to be the kind of peacemakers Jesus called ‘blessed’ (Matthew 5:9) and ‘speak the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15). We will be ‘quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.’ (James 1:19) We will be life givers, bridge builders and conduits of grace. How else can followers of Jesus react? This does not mean we don’t speak our convictions, but it does mean we do so with the perspective of a steward and the motivation to be salt and light in this present darkness.
As the body of Christ we have a moment, an opportunity to bear witness to our morally decaying culture of an alternative that promises healing and redemption at the very point of our greatest national acrimony. Will we seize it?
I believe the answer begins with you and me, today.
How might God guide your heart, your attitudes, your perspective and your actions if you fully surrendered them to Him today and walked the journey of the faithful steward?