The Church, Politics, and Trust
“Trust is my through-line.”
I interviewed Wm. Paul Young earlier this year and that was his life theme. I loved the statement, it resonated.
A through-line is a central theme a writer focuses on that holds the whole piece together.
Trust is the central theme of life here on earth. Trust is our through-line, it is the heart of our Father revealed when Jesus prayed that we would know union like He did, first with our heavenly Father, and then with each other. (see John 17:21)
Trust is the only way to experience “On earth as it is in Heaven.” Trust is the goal for every human interaction on this often-broken and divided planet.
And it is an often-broken and divided planet.
And that is why trust is something that must be earned.
Trust is the most valuable commodity on the planet. And it is a commodity: it’s both earned and traded.
And when it comes to this world, trust is earned through faithfulness over time.
And when it comes to this world, without trust, there is no Kingdom established, there is no family of God, there are simply corporations, institutions, and power-grabs.
Trust looks like Jesus. And Jesus earned our trust.
He literally laid His life down to prove it.
A Triune God, on His way to the cross, rebuked the violence of Peter’s sword and then laid down His life for humanity, not counting our broken divisions against us.
Jesus is where trust can be placed, and what trust looks like, and how trust works.
Outside of the model Jesus gave us on a cross, reconciling all things, not counting our broken divisions against us, trust is fleeting.
And sadly, when it comes to much of the church today, trust is fleeting.
It seems the North American church doesn’t understand how trust works. You see, while trust is earned through faithfulness over time, it can be lost the same way.
Today, this is on display through the political landscape in the US.
Today, many of my democrat Christian friends who were condescending and willing to divorce themselves from relationships with family and friends over Donald Trump, who accused their brothers and sisters of being evil, now write posts on their social media streams asking for unity and praising the virtues of patience and humility.
If you can’t practice generous humility when you’re offended (even justly so), if you’re willing to divorce and accuse your brothers and sisters, then your brothers and sisters have learned that if they need generous equality, you’re the last place they should look. Trust has been broken.
And today many of my republican Christian friends, who in their blind adoration of “God’s man,” were unwilling to acknowledge when he wrote inflammatory and hateful things, or confront when he did narcissistic things, are now using warlike terms to prophecy that God desires “our side” to have political power above all else.
If you can’t practice honesty and humility when you’re afraid (even justly so), if you’re unwilling to acknowledge when brokenness and ego rule the day, then your brothers and sisters have learned that if they need honesty and equality, you’re the last place they should look. Trust has been broken.
Dear church, repent. Be kind and generous to one another. Walk humbly.
If you have divorced your friends, family, or neighbor because of political offense, repent. If you have considered your brothers and sisters evil because they believe differently than you, repent. If you have been unwilling to address the sins of “your party,” repent.
The only way forward is a church that remembers how trust works, a church that walks humbly and, like Jesus, lays their lives down.
Dear church, trust is our through-line, Jesus on a cross, un-offended by the broken divisions of His brothers and sisters, is our through-line. Let’s awaken to the good news that we are one, unified in and through Christ. Let’s lay our swords down, take up our cross, and follow in Jesus’ footsteps.
Jason Clark is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.
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