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A Soft Answer
by Shakera Reid-Stewart
6/09/2008 / Politics
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
I recently submitted a poem entitled "Vote for Change, Not History" and received an alarmingly hostile response from a fellow writer. I've matured enough as a Christian to know that if you offend someone, or if they offend you, the right course of action is to look within to see if you are in the wrong and then pray for guidance to approach them the proper way. Although it is clear that this individual completely misquotes me and makes assumptions that should not be made, I do realize that as Christians we should hold each other accountable for our words and deeds. This is a public response for those who may have interpreted the poem the way that he did.
I've heard Non-Christians make the comment, "If this is what Christianity is about, then I don't want any part of it!" I've often told people that they use that as an excuse and that they shouldn't judge Christians by the actions of a few. Yesterday, for the first time, I clearly understood how they felt. It is amazing to me that I've submitted numerous poems and articles written with the intent to educate, uplift and give honor and glory to God over the past two years, and with the submission of just one, my Christianity is called into question. I was taught that God knows the heart of man, and only he can and should make that judgment. Although I am an imperfect being, as we all are, for the most part, I have tried to live a life that is pleasing to God. I know that the topics of religion and politics push buttons, but as Christians, if it is necessary to "correct" or "chastise" or even disagree, I feel that there is a proper way to do so. If I were truly a lost soul or even a Christian choosing the wrong path, surely blasting me and calling me names would not be the best way to win me back for the Kingdom. We lose so many people, Christians and Non-Christians alike, with our aggressive "holier than thou" attitude. My Pastor reminded us yesterday that at the end of the day, other than loving God, loving each other is the most important thing that we can do as Christians. Otherwise, I think we just end up alienating others and turning them away from God.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
-1 Peter 3:15
A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
-John 13: 34-35
More specifically, as it concerns the poem, my beliefs are totally in line with God's will and his word. The intent of the poem, as the synopsis states, was not to sway anyone's vote, but simply to advise people to be prayerful about the candidate that they choose (regardless or party, race, or gender). I am by no means an expert on political issues, or even close. However, my personal choice of who I would vote for is my privilege and right. In the face of two imperfect candidates for president who are both, (in my opinion), not totally in line with God's will, the only thing that I can do is pray for discernment and choose one. Not voting is not an option. I still remain prayerful and hopeful.
Below is my response to the following statement made by this individual and anyone who thinks that way: "You are a very carnal Christian & short sighted (having no eyes to see the truth) if you are proud of the simple fact that there is a woman & a black man running for office."
As an African American and a woman, I must say that there is nothing simple about it. As Christians we should promote the fact that we are all equal in the eyes of God. In the past, (and obviously still today), that was not the case in the eyes of man. Although gender or race should not be the factor that sways a vote, I still believe that this is progress and I am sure that many others do as well. Does it mean that they will vote for them? Not necessarily, but at least they can acknowledge its significance.
As a teacher, I realize that there are always teachable moments. The simple message of this particular article goes beyond the realm of politics. Now the message is to pray for guidance before you take action or speak. It is quite apparent by this incident that others are always scrutinizing the lives we lead as Christians, and we will be held accountable.
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Shakera Reid was born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in Miramar, Florida. Her passion in life is counseling and educating youth. Hobbies include reading, writing and watching movies. Her hope is to encourage others through her writing and to help them in their Christian walk.
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