Pass the SALT!!
Well... it's finally over. After stomaching one of the most rancid presidential campaigns on record, Americans have spoken. What say you?
I say, "PASS THE SALT!"
"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men." (Matthew 5:13, NASB)
In today's "foodie" culture, we read this Scripture and think Christ-followers are supposed to somehow make the world taste better. There may be viability for that interpretation. But I've got to be honest friends... after months of bitter political rhetoric and nauseating campaign maneuvers, I'm struggling to get the vile taste out of my own mouth, much less the world. Fortunately, I don't believe Jesus is asking us to make the world more palatable in this passage from the Sermon on the Mount. He's calling on His followers to be the change agent in a deteriorating society. How appropriate for such a time as this.
In the 1st Century, salt was used to keep flesh from rotting. With no refrigeration, the ancients used it to preserve meat. They also threw salt in a wound (literally) to halt infection and foster healing. Salt was more important for survival than seasoning in the ancient world. So when Jesus calls His followers "salt of the earth," He is asserting that God's people are to be active agents against society's moral decay and corruption.
Let that sink in for a moment as we jump 2,000 years ahead to today in America, where immorality and corruption have been center stage in our process of choosing the next President of the United States. I came of age in the Reagan era, when elections may have gotten combative, but civility still ruled the day. What happened to that?...to us?!!
Could it be, at least in part, that Christ-followers in America have lost their salt?
For our spiritual ancestors, salt contaminated by another substance was rendered useless in preserving meat and healing the body. The same can be said today about the Christian who, fearing persecution, ridicule and/or lack of society's respect, compromises their witness. They contaminate their spiritual saltiness to become more acceptable to family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors and even fellow Christians.
Other Christ-followers show they aren't worth their salt as they huddle up in their churches, blame the masses for the mess we are in and say, "America has gotten exactly what it asked for." Whether that is true or not, Christian isolationism just makes it easier for the world to ignore us and our life-giving message of hope.
In contrast, I am determined to be a "salty" Christ-follower and I hope you make that choice as well because our country needs it after such an ugly political season. So what does it look like to be a salty Christian in this angry, fearful and divisive post-election climate? Above all else, salt-of-the-earth believers maintain unswerving confidence in our sovereign God and His dominion over all things, including the outcome of elections. What is true for Pilate is true for POTUS.
Pilate said to Him, "...Do you not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?" Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been give you from above..." (John 10:10-11a, NASB)
We also have to be willing to get our hands dirty. Salt has to make contact with decay in order to bring about restoration. In the days ahead, the national dialogue will turn to healing the deep divides and disunity in our society. Christians need to be engaged in this conversation (even if our message is mocked or disregarded).
Additionally it is imperative that we invest our God-given resources (money, time, talent) in godly efforts that champion sanctity of all life, preserve our constitutional freedoms, provide for the sick and poor, and speak Truth into the hearts and lives of people who desperately need hope.
Finally, salty Christ-followers are called to humbly and prayerfully submit to the Lord's purpose for us in this hurting world. We are created to honor and glorify Him, no matter our personal circumstances or national struggles. There is only One who is worthy of our worship... and He doesn't live in the White House.
I recall the morning after an election a few years ago when I woke up with a heart that felt like it weighed 100 pounds. I was so distressed about the future of our country that I could barely get out of bed. But before my feet hit the ground, the Lord set me straight: "So what's changed for you?" He asked me somewhere deep within my soul. NOTHING I realized... except for the fact that I will have a larger sphere of influence as more people struggle and suffer within a decaying society.
If you are experiencing post-election distress or disappointment... don't lose heart. All is not lost. In fact, as I have learned, there is much to be gained if we see these circumstances through God's eyes and not our political views. No matter who is deemed the leader of the free world, the Lord is still the Creator of the World. And He is still on the throne, offering Truth that cannot be corrupted or politicized. That message of hope needs to rise above the clatter of bitterness, anger, fear and divisiveness... not only in the country at large, but in our communities, families and congregations.
Bottom line on this day after the presidential election: America still and always will need JESUS.
So ... please pass the SALT!!
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This blog was written BEFORE the results of the election were in. It does not reflect my political views. Rather, it reflects my heart's desire to see America lift her eyes to her Creator.)