Something has been breaking my heart for months now. I knew that whatever was grieving me stemmed from the unnerving political climate of today, but I kept grasping to discover the root of my broken heartedness.
Not surprisingly, delving into scripture and asking for clarity made the answer to my question come off the page like those 3D images that were huge in the 90’s.
I first identified who I was hurting for. I hurt for those who feel afraid to express their opinions. Those who are afraid of being looked down on as insensitive, ignorant, or much worse. I hurt for everyone who was being gossiped about, and slandered – politician and non, capitalist and socialist, left and right, rich and poor, liberal and conservative, PhD and high school diploma, CNN and FOX watchers. Attack, retribution, shaming, fall out. Over and over again. And it’s still happening.
I don’t see Jesus in any of it. Not that I ever did, but this fact was brought to the forefront of my heart and mind.
What is something that is at the essence of every person? Their character, right? Character is “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”. God gave each of us the ability to have one, as he has one too (only his is perfect). He has the in on everything that makes our character what it is.
We live in a society where our characters – what is at the heart of what we do, say, and think – are constantly being attacked. People are constantly being criticized and judged by those who think they know better.
Attacks on character are prevalent and commonly used (tactfully and heedlessly) as a weapon by some these days. You don’t have look far to see this. It’s all up in our faces. If you have no idea what I am talking about, tell me your secret. Impart your wisdom on your humble servant.
I want to remind you that if you are or have been at the receiving end of character attacks, while they seem impossible to refute because they slam the door on any logical discussion, YOU get to determine the power of this weapon. Is it a splinter? Is it a dagger? Is it a pebble stuck in the grooves of the bottom of your shoe? You decide whether the attack comes from somewhere pertinent or not. People can hurl character attacks at you for thinking, looking, talking, acting differently. You determine whether the attack causes damage or not.
The real power is not in the rhetoric. The REAL power is in the relationship you have with your Creator. If that relationship is strong and vital to you, then what would otherwise be a paralyzing dagger in your spine, might just be a pebble in your shoe that you just have to shake out.
Ask for discernment, and He’ll freely give it! Even if something someone tells you has some relevance but comes from somewhere insensitive, you take the relevance without the insensitivity and do something good with it. If someone tells you something that is irrelevent but it comes from somewhere sensitive, you appreciate that sensitivity as something we need a lot of.
See God, He looks at the heart. That reality makes us all cringe. No one likes the idea of the ugly parts being out in the open for Him to see. But remember that “God has always loved us then saved us. Not the other way around.” Wise words of a good friend of mine.
So what I’m hoping for all of us is an extra dose of wisdom. Wisdom when we speak, and when we are at the receiving end of things that are said about us or to us. My hope is that we give power where power is due.
Character attacks that are outright misplaced or don’t mirror Jesus’ manner or intentions, are not due any power. None at all.
Be encouraged! Your voice and character have value!