“Instead is a word of exchange.” (Eugene Peterson)
I’ve been musing about this statement for weeks. This is what I have concluded. The word “instead” is a word of change, of choice, of substitution, of purging. It is also a word of power:
I choose to do this instead of that.
I choose to believe this instead of that.
I choose to accept this instead of that.
We live in perilous times in America. Our president is choosing divisiveness instead of diversity. He is choosing his own safety instead of the safety of the American people. He is choosing hatefulness instead of civility. He is choosing lies instead of truth. He is choosing phony power plays instead of diplomacy. He is choosing ignorance instead of advice. He is choosing incompetence instead of professionalism. He is choosing self-aggrandizement instead of service. He is demanding loyalty to himself instead of loyalty to the Constitution. He is demanding that we accept his version of reality instead of our own common sense.
Christ-followers need to recognize the power of “instead.” Instead of choosing the safety of unawareness, we need to choose to be educated about the actions and policies of this president. Instead of choosing silence, we need to speak up. Instead of turning away from (or worse making light of) the corruption and sleaziness, we need to protest and complain and join together to end it. Instead of saying, “Every politician lies” we need to acknowledge the enormity of over 4,000 proven lies by the President since Inauguration Day. Instead of saying that God uses imperfect people to do his work, we must argue that this president is not just imperfect but evil.
Instead of throwing up our hands and saying, “There’s nothing we can do,” we can agree that Christians cannot support a president who believes he is above the law – and above virtue and morality. Instead of giving in, we must protest, in the way that suits us best. Instead of giving in, we must run for office or campaign for candidates who will not line up in Trump’s brigade. Instead of giving in, we must vote in November – so he can be removed.