I’m Fasting Negativity – Won’t You Join Me?
Friday, August 22, 2014
Surprises are good. I’ve always been the type of person who appreciates a surprise and, thankfully, I have three children who like to “get” me as often as they can!
This month, however, I received a surprise that radically changed my thinking. My middle child, who many of you know as Katy Perry, called and invited me to go to the White House with her.
The White House?! Yes, the White House.
You can imagine that it was a serious blessing just to be invited. Just five days before Katy was scheduled to sing before President Obama and 200 supporters of the Special Olympics – including Stevie Wonder – I received a text inviting me to join her. And those few lines led me not only to the experience of a lifetime but also to a shift in my thinking that I feel is important enough that I need to share it with you today.
We entered the White House from a side entrance in the early afternoon for a sound check. I was in awe of the photographs that lined the walls. Most surprising? The photographs of the Presidents and their dogs. I think that was the beginning of my mind shift. The occupants of the White House are people – people who have families, people who have pets. Katy brought her little puppy Butters along – the security staff wasn’t used to seeing a guest bring along a pet and were concerned that the Obama’s two Portugese water dogs might clash with Butters… but she was relegated to a private room so never the twain did meet….
We proceeded to the celebrity dressing area – the walls again lined with photos. This time, instead of dogs, we saw the numerous celebrities who’d performed at the White House.
We entered through the receiving line where President and First Lady Obama were greeting each guest personally. I was moved when they both exclaimed how much they adore Katy. In fact, at one point, President Obama turned to me and said, “We just love your daughter.” To which I replied, “That’s because there is so much light in her.” They both paused and carefully considered what I said. The President and Michelle looked at each other and said, “That’s it! Katy has a lot of light in her…”
While warm and welcoming, I was able to see the weariness on the President’s face. He seemed tired. Not just tired physically, but true bone-deep weariness that can only come from being in a protracted battle with no time for rest. He commented that he and Michelle were aware Keith and I are ministers, and asked that we would pray for them.
The concert began and I was honored to be seated behind Gayle King (Oprah’s best friend) who was next to the President and First Lady.
As soon as the concert ended, the President turned to me and said, “Please keep praying. We are counting on your prayers.”
This simple request resonated throughout my being…
You see, I love America and all that it stands for. I believe in the power of free speech and I love the fact that so many people from so many backgrounds and different belief systems can come together and become one people – united in a belief of what this country stands for.
But in the past ten years there’s been a shift that’s resulted in more strife and division in our country than one could imagine.
While we may be “free” to say whatever we want, most of us know to exercise discretion because we recognize that our words have consequences.
For example, imagine asking your husband if a dress looks flattering only to hear this response, “I think it makes you look fat and shows off every ripple of cellulite.” How many of you agree that the sofa will be a nice sleeping surface for him that evening? While it may be true, the response that exercised discretion would be, “This dress is good, but I like that black dress you wore to the last party – it made your eyes look so stunning.” (Right?!)
A slippery spirit of criticism has slipped into our country. When did it become acceptable to attack others who have a differing opinion? Why is someone a “hater” just because their opinion varies from someone else’s? Why can’t we agree to disagree and still love one another? When did it become acceptable to tear down and personally attack leaders because we don’t agree with every decision they make?
The Bible is clear on what we are to do as Christians, I Timothy 2:1-4 says,
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For thisis good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Somewhere along the line we lost the concept of honoring our leaders. Criticism for our President and our country abounds throughout the world. As Christians, our job is to pray for our President and to pray for the leaders whose job it is to guide our country.
The Bible doesn’t say that we should pray for them if we agree with them – just that we should pray. And, not only are we to pray… we’re supposed to be thankful!
Imagine my shock when I saw my negative attitude handed to me on a silver platter.
At first I thought that this revelation was just for me – but then when I posted a photo from the White House on my social network page, I was absolutely shocked at some of the negative comments that were posted. One person even referred to our President as the anti-Christ. That’s just not ok.
I was then reminded of the “if my people” scripture in 2 Chronicles 7 – but I decided to read what came before and after which provided a lot more context (verses 13-16, below):
“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.”
I had the “aha” moment that I’m hoping you’ll have right now. While you are free to say whatever you want to say, your words have consequences. What do you think would happen if we, as Christians, decided to fast negative speaking against our leaders? When I say fast, I mean FAST! No more, “well…. I pray for the President but I really don’t agree with anything he’s done.” I mean having the boldness when you hear someone speak negatively about our leaders to say “Authority is of God – I’m praying for our President and you should too. I’m not going to touch God’s anointed.”
Years ago I heard the testimony of a pastor from Eastern Europe speak about the fall of the Berlin wall. He declared the wall never would have come down in 1989 if Eastern Germany’s population had not responded to their opponents by walking in love. When East German’s mindset changed to one of “doing good to those who despitefully used them” – the wall came down.
So, that’s my challenge to you today. Can you join me in a campaign to walk away from any and all negativity for 30 days? I believe that you’ll hear God more clearly, you’ll see prayers answered, and you’ll be a vital part of helping restore our country.