It’s the cause we read books about. It’s all over our podcast line-ups. It’s reinforced by the influencers we follow on Instagram. And man, oh man, somehow we always end up steering the conversation there! We can’t get enough!
It’s not just us. It’s all over! It’s evidenced by the wide variety of signs we’ve seen lately in the news or on social media, printed messages in large letters penned with bold marker, thrust high by swaths of people who desire to make their messages known.
Some plead for peace. Some demand justice. Some oppose overreach. Some uphold the rights of those who can’t speak for themselves. Some want the “right” to do whatever they want.
There are people who will never march with their message because it isn’t controversial, but they believe in the cause just as passionately! Maybe it’s mental health, or self-care, or homeschooling, or physical fitness. It could be anything!
So I ask you, and at the same time, I ask myself:
What does your sign say?
It’s not wrong to be passionate about the things we believe will make the world a better place. However, the enemy of our souls is excellent at taking worthwhile and noble desires and turning them into idols that distract us from our true calling: to know God and make him known.
As Christians, it can be easy to add “and” to the gospel because, honestly, many times we don’t think the gospel is enough.
Jesus and social justice.
Jesus and politics.
Jesus and face masks.
Jesus and environmentalism.
Jesus and health and wellness.
Jesus and self-love.
Jesus and pop psychology.
Jesus and patriotism.
Jesus and attachment parenting.
I’ll go first and admit that my peace has been absolutely stolen at times as I’ve immersed myself in the politics I’ve seen played out over the past couple years, especially as I’ve seen people I love taken in by what I can only see as blatant lies, both in our government and, sadly, within the church.
I believe with all my heart that speaking out against corruption both in society and in the church is worthwhile and important. Truth matters. But…
The posture of my heart is often not right.
So to myself I offer this thought; as well as to anyone else who may have the same problem:
If the sign we are holding causes us to think of others uncharitably; if we can’t find love in our hearts for those who disagree; if the weight of it makes us anxious or fearful; if it consumes our thought life and steals our peace, joy, love, gentleness, goodness, kindness, patience, faithfulness, etc…
We have to let it go.
This is not to say that as Christians we don’t also care about what God cares about. We are absolutely meant to shine the good and beautiful attributes of the Father into the world around us. But these issues were never meant to be the main thing. And some of them aren’t actually in line with the gospel at all! We have to keep going back to the one truth of God’s message to the world:
Christ crucified and resurrected, reigning in heaven beside the Father and saving all that would turn to him is the only thing that can save.
So we park there. We let the gospel soak into us as we take in God’s word, not the words of someone else who happens to think like we do. We ask God for his love, so that we can love all people, without giving preference to the ones we admire. We stop making it about us, even when it seems like the whole thing will crash if we don’t keep pushing forward. It won’t. We will.
I pose this question: can we put down our signs and open our hands to the Father?
We can still talk about the things that matter. We can still love and serve. But we need to point people to Jesus, not to ourselves.
I don’t know about you, but I want my peace back.