Because He Offends Our Sensibilities: A Post-Election Encouragement

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Note: Since launching Voices Against the Grain in 2013, we have vowed to remain nonpartisan, for we are focused on the true government that rests upon His shoulders (Isaiah 9:6-7). We’ll continue to do so even in discussing political matters.

Donald Trump. Lack of self-control. Disrespectful. Abhorrent. Insulting. His words spoken most always elicited a visceral reaction from me and many others, finding what he said to be crude and offensive. Many of us were taught to respect others; to be kind toward others. We were taught to treat others as we’d want to be treated. We were taught that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Absolutely, Donald Trump violated every one of these precepts. He offends our sensibilities. His words also unleashed and emboldened others whose mindsets offend our sensibilities in the worst way.

But even in this, on the night of Tuesday, November 8, 2016, into the wee hours of Wednesday, November 9, Donald Trump became America’s 45th president-elect. The votes separating the two candidates was undeniable. It was done. The world appeared like it had been turned on its head. Many commiserated in their alcoholic beverages, shed tears, stood in shock, disturbed by the outcomes. Even the experts had not predicted the polls to shift as they did.

How and why did this happen??

donald-trump

Donald Trump, president-elect, yelling at a Colorado rally at fire marshall. Eeeks.

Let’s start here. While many were focused on being “on the right side of history” by voting for a woman to become president, while many were wanting to see more “progress,” other voices that have been dismissed, said, “Enough.” Some of those voices are decent, intelligent and loving men and women. They’d risk their lives for you. Some of those voices are not white nationalists, not racist nor sexist. They recoiled at the two candidate choices presented and might have wanted a woman president but not that woman. Some of those voices are black and brown. Some of those voices are deeply grieved when inequality continues to proliferate. Some of those voices were also tired of the establishment. The bought media. Elitism. The status quo. Immorality.

A nation that once said, “In God We Trust,” set forth legislation and behaviors that disregarded God. What came afterward was so wrong, so much and so fast with more to come. Some of those voices fervently prayed for an intervention, in whatever way God fashioned it. People were kneeled and prostrate, hearts pouring out. And when there’s prayer for an intervention…look out. Will it be a prick, a tap on the shoulder or a full out “oops, upside your head”?

Do you know who else offends our sensibilities? God. GOD offends our sensibilities when things happen that we can’t make sense of. God offends our sensibilities when we keep eating the cake that’s killing us and He decides to finally remove the plate from our gluttonous faces to save us from ourselves. God offends our sensibilities when IN His love for us, He removes His grace and sends judgment—like a parent whose child continues to rebel. Throughout the Bible and throughout our lives (for those paying attention), we’ve seen God move in ways that confused us, that made us uncomfortable, that angered us, that caused us to think He was out of His mind or no longer with us.

Fact is, God is not interested in our comfort. This election outcome didn’t just happen on November 8. This extends far before and beyond. Whether it is God’s judgment or His protection, I’m not to say. What I know is that His Hand is Sovereign in all situations. Since last year, I called this entire election a dumpster fire careening down the street out of control—or was it? Was society turned on its head by this election outcome—or is God getting us in position to be turned right side up? To usher in His Kingdom? God works best in our discomfort. 

God WILL OFFEND our sensibilities to do what He needs to do. He will absolutely upset our plans. We may not like it or love it. We may not understand it. But to this, I say, “Lord, have your way. Have thine own way.”

I absolutely understand those distraught by this presidential election outcome. God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Cling not to broken, worldly thought patterns.

But to the Saints/Believers/the Body of Christ, I implore you not to be frightened by this outcome. Instead, be JOYFUL that God is moving! More people have come together in prayer. More are in praise and worship! More are seeking God for hearts to change and saying, “Lord, let that change start with me.” More love, more kindness. More of God’s People are emboldened to fight the good fight on their knees while wielding the sword of His Word in their hands.

This is also game time! Suit up, Saints! We’ve rehearsed for game day many, many times, now. We’ve been in training for game day. We know His Word. We trust in God’s Promises to deliver and keep the righteous in perfect peace. We know He has not given us a spirit of fear. We already know that the gates of hell shall not prevail. We know that His Presence goes with us wherever we go and he says, “Be not afraid. Be strong.” He already told us that He has “overcome the world (John 16:33).” We know how the story ends, folks!! While many of you are resting in this truth, some of you are afraid and dismayed. Come on, folks! Such situations do NOT change how the story ends! Through Jesus Christ, we win in the end! No man, no woman, no system, no campaign can bring about such victory. This victory has already been won through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Focus. Don’t Get Distracted.

isaiah-26-3-purple

 

Remember our world is fallen, perishing. In dire need of a Savior. For those firmly rooted in Christ Jesus, we are to view all situations through His eyes. We are to glorify God whether the situation is good or bad; to our liking or not to our liking. A spiritual mind is a mind stayed on Jesus. A spiritual mind is indeed sober about situations—and is yet, slightly detached from the world. We handle elation and devastation the same way: fixed, unmoved, abiding in peace, joyful.

Don’t let any circumstance remove your focus from Almighty God, the Great I AM. God will indeed offend our sensibilities to shake things up, to disrupt harmful patterns, to expose corruption and injustices so justice and integrity can be restored, to awaken the sleeping, to move us to abandon worldly wisdom and trust in Him only, to grow us, to strengthen us and to draw hearts closer to Him; to bring us to the end of ourselves so that HE is all that remains in us. Such disruption is good and necessary. Our greatest success rests in Him and our obedience to His process. Focus less on Trump and see what God is doing in this very moment. I am excited to see how God will move. The nations are the LORD’s and He desires that we seek Him (Acts 17:26-27).

Pray for our leaders and for their hearts to be pliable in God’s Hands to do His will as noted in Proverbs 21:1. Lord, continue to use Your People as Ambassadors of Your light, love and truth in these times.

God bless you.

-Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.

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“Ye Shall Know Them By Their Fruits”

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Was the Pope right about Donald Trump? Thursday became a war of words when Pope Francis, on return from a trip to Mexico, commented about immigration reform. He addressed presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal of building a wall to keep out those who’d enter the U.S. illegally. Per this CNN article, Pope Francis said:

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel,” the Pope told journalists who asked his opinion on Trump’s proposals to halt illegal immigration.

Trump immediately fired back, calling Francis’ comments “disgraceful.”

“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith,” he said in statement. Trump added that the government in Mexico, where Francis spent the past five days, has “made many disparaging remarks about me to the Pope.”

Donald Trump and Pope Francis

Ding, ding! U.S. Presidential candidate and billionaire businessman Donald Trump punches back to Pope Francis’ remarks made on Thursday that question Trump’s tout of being a Christian given his push to build walls rather than bridges to keep out those who’d enter the U.S. illegally. February 18, 2016. (Photo courtesy: 2 Scoop News)

I have few words to offer on the subject. While Pope Francis may or may not have been correct in his statement, there’s a greater point that can’t be overlooked. In fact, it should serve as the guide and rule for all who proclaim to be Christians, God’s People:

“Ye shall know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16)

This isn’t rocket science, nor meant to be complicated, nor does it require mathematical formulas to figure out. This goes beyond Trump’s comment that “no leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith.” It goes beyond Trump confusing 2 Corinthians for “Two Corinthians.”

Simply ask: Does this person exhibit the character of Jesus in their words and deeds? Do their words promote holiness, peace and truth? Do their words build others up or tear them down? Do they wear Christianity as an ornament yet don’t daily walk it, talk it or live it?  Are their words and deeds motivated by the fruits of the Spirit:

Fruit-of-the-Spirit

Is there any question after this?

-Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.

Palin’s Principles Will Punk Us

Unthinking people have exchanged godliness for what is politically expedient and to our detriment.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. – 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (English Standard Version) 

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

The political process has interested me since I was a teen. I’ve fervently discussed the issues of the day with family members, peers and colleagues and watched to see which candidate(s) aligned closest with my values. The process still holds my interest today, albeit differently.

When I launched Voices Against the Grain in May 2013, I vowed to remain nonpartisan. In our ministry communications, I have vowed to not promote my political leanings or views. This is due in part that while policies have their place in our society, our best solution and hope rests in Christ Jesus alone. Additionally, I desire for Voices Against the Grain to help advance Christ’s love and truth among Believers and non-believers without sowing discord through contentious political arguments.

However, since our country’s engagement last summer in these 2016 U.S. presidential elections and the review of candidates, I shake my head at what I’ve seen and heard. This election has an abundance of foolishness, double-talk and berating of one another that signals how far we’ve strayed from what is right. If not for Christ’s grace and mercy holding back his full wrath of our destruction and the remnant of His People who are advancing His Kingdom in the darkest places to share His Truth, I wonder if we’d exist this very moment.

As an example of our straying, I share a moment that made me snap my neck and raise my brow like  “watchu talkin’ ’bout Willis?”

This morning, ahead of the evening’s Iowa caucuses, Today show anchor Savannah Guthrie asked former Alaska Governor and political commentator Sarah Palin about her endorsement of U.S. presidential candidate and billionaire businessman Donald Trump. Guthrie noted that Palin has “a lot of credibility with evangelical voters.” She asked Palin if Trump is the “godly candidate that evangelicals are looking for.”

Palin replied: “I hope voters aren’t trying to find the most Christiany (is that a word??), godliest candidate out there, because who are we to judge one another’s level of faith or Christian quotient, if you will. Hopefully people are looking for he who has that record of success that proves he’s going to be able to get the job done for us, finally.” 

I never would have spoken or written so directly on the elections, but Palin’s by-golly-gee answer to Guthrie’s serious question has warranted my response.

 

Sarah Palin Today Show Feb 1 2016

Former Alaska Governor and political commentator Sarah Palin, responds to Today show anchors Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer on Monday about her endorsement of Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump. February 1, 2016. (Photo courtesy of NBC, Today Show)

If it’s simply a matter of electing a competent person to fill the office of the President, then that can be done.  But are we solely interested in the person completing the task, or more importantly, their character, integrity, judgment and wisdom deployed to complete those tasks?

As Believers, if we’re committed to restoring God’s moral authority, God’s truth and justice, and civility to our country’s fiber, than we should be more prayerful as to who receives our vote. The consequences of dismissing such standards have eroded the foundation of our government, communities, neighborhoods and workplaces. We indeed need more Christian public servants who have decreased their wills in order to advance God’s will to serve the public good. We don’t need another person bent on doing their own thing, not guided by what is godly, what is right or wrong. If not a godly person to lead our country, then who??

Palin’s principles and others alike, will prevent such an opportunity of godliness in this particular political space. Palin’s principles will only further promote ungodliness. If we accept such principles, we’ll once again be punked.

-Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.