Earlier this week I wrote a post about interest in American politics overseas and how it reveals a desire for a savior or deliverer (in this case America). That post was positive because an understanding all the world is broken (including the US) shows no individual can truly be our savior, and focuses our eyes on the one true Savior Jesus Christ.
At the same time this interest in American politics is a great hindrance to missions, and sharing the Gospel in particular, because they see the chaos that has erupted from the 2016 presidential election.
Now let me just say this isn’t a post attacking either candidate (though like most of you I have serious issues with both of them) but mourning the fact that nightly news programs loudly publish throughout the world “America is no longer a Christian nation.”
Gonna have to send all the kids out of the room before I can turn on the news tonight.
— Trevin Wax (@TrevinWax) October 7, 2016
In a way this isn’t a surprise for Americans because we saw our Country slowly drifting away from God long before same-sex marriage was accepted by the Supreme Court, transgenders use of bathrooms became a hot-topic, and religious freedom was confined to four walls on Sunday. The presidential election isn’t the source of our brokeness, but puts a spotlight on it for the world to see.
Sadly many people in mission fields were unaware just how bad things had become in America…they know now
and now that they know America’s chaos becomes my identity instead of the Gospel.
When I first came to Barrouallie St. Vincent everybody called me “white man” for about a month till the started learning my name. Thankfully they all call me John now, but as one of the three white people in town, being American is still a huge part of my identity. This isn’t too much of a problem since I don’t expect people to look upon me as “Vincentian” and I’ll always be proud to be an American.
Since I’m from the States though people would talk to me about American things like:
- Where they had been in America
- Sports in the US
- American TV shows or movies
- And things things that were different back home
This week because the discussion of American things included
- Muslim terrorists
- Gun control
- the riots in Charlotte
- and racial profiling
In the mornings and evenings I always take a walk around the community to develop relationships, and share Christ. As conversations during those walks turned from small-talk to what they saw on Foxnews or CNN it became more and more difficult to turn them towards their need of Jesus.
Even worse I was no longer identified as “John the missionary who came to share Christ with us” but “John the missionary whose parents lived two-hours from those riots in Charlotte”, or “John the missionary from the Country were racism is rampant”,or “John the missionary from the Country where everyone owns guns.”
These unspoken identifications aren’t true of course (not everyone’s a racist, and not everyone owns a gun) but the point is watching news coverage from the US makes them THINK that’s true, and in the end that’s all that matters.
Satan hates the Gospel…he would rather people talk about anything except their need of a Savior. Unfortunately the news gives Vincentians plenty of other things to talk about, and if I’m not careful its incredibly easy to start arguing about “issues” (with someone who cannot vote) instead of clarifying the Gospel.
Unfortunately I don’t have an easy answer to this problem (don’t think there is one) but maybe the first step is remembering the unsaved in mission-fields are watching.
- The see the chaos
- And politicians acting like spoiled children
- news programs that turn into shouting matches
- Division over what people “self identify” as
- Social media websites such as Facebook or Twitter turning into tools that attack other viewpoints
- And a Government that exudes more and more control over Churches
They see our brokenness
They know we have turned from God
so with the Lord’s help may I become known as “John the missionary who owns his Countries brokenness (along with his own) and with every newscast confesses America’s need of a Savior.”