I had never heard the word “vexed” until we moved to Jamaica where a more British vocabulary was spoken. “Vexation” is the state of being annoyed, frustrated, or anxious. Apparently, there is a positive side to vexation – like, being grieved, troubled, or perplexed – that can create genuine actions for the good. It seems to include an element of compassion that can motivate you to address the emotion constructively.
However, that’s not usually what I see happening today. I see Christians irate at other Christians and fellow human beings (whom they are to love), fearfully anxious about protecting their so-called rights, resentful towards those with whom they disagree, easily provoked by what is out of their control, and generally ill-tempered about anything or anyone not meeting their criteria of what it means to be a true American.
Unholy feelings, thoughts, and actions are given justification in light of one’s political perspective inciting conflict that is not to be characteristic of the Christian community nor individual Christians. This is true for those on either side of the current political and social issues, whether Christians angrily destroying property or those loathing brothers and sisters who are Democrats.
Christians are confronted with much higher standards than any political or social setting demands of them. For Christians, political issues and social ills are primarily a means to gauge our sanctification not the framework of our sanctification. This may be a new thought to many. We are so pressed to think politically that our “Christianity” can get lost. We forget that political and social causes are means to an end not ends in themselves. When this alignment is skewed, when the end becomes the means, the Christian is no longer Christian.
To be Christian includes these actions and virtues being a reality in our lives:
I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2.1-4)
Every day we are to pray for and give thanks for every person on this planet including all in authority (even those with whom we disagree). This leads to a quiet and peaceful life filled with godliness and reverence. Does this describe your actions and feelings in our current political and social chaos?
The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”… And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” So all bore witness to Him and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. (Luke 4.16-21)
To be like Jesus includes participation in His calling and doing so graciously. Are we even aware of this? Are we gracious and kind in our words towards those who are poor, brokenhearted, captive, blind, and oppressed? Remember, out of the heart the mouth speaks. Are we in union with Christ such that His work is our work as well? There are bigger issues here than defending a political opinion or one’s rights…such as being like Jesus.
As the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. (Colossians 3.12-15)
Compare your reactions and attitude to the virtues listed in these verses. I know we’re all trying to live like this. Yet the political and social climate gets under our spiritual skin, pushes our sick hot buttons, and creates anxiety and tension within. The result? Usually the opposite of what we read from the great Apostle. Read the above passage again. It’s so convicting.
“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11.27-30)
When our lives are aimed at oneness with the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and we are seeking Jesus Christ with our whole heart, we will begin becoming like Him. Restfulness, meekness, and lowliness hardly characterize today’s political leaders, celebrities, protesters, church leaders, activists, news folks, or sad to say, Christians. Realistically living in the yoke of Christ, unified with Him, changes everything…even our political perspectives.
Sure, you can cherry-pick phrases or notions from the Bible that justify your ungodly feelings and actions towards fellow human beings including Christians. However, you need to consider and struggle with these clear truths about how to be, think, and act towards others. Actually, these passages only scratch the surface.
I hope this gives you something to ponder. Even more, I hope all of us see the need to know Christ and become like Him so that we might think and act as He would if He were living here right now.
Grace, Mercy, and Peace to All.
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