We are a culture of disenfranchisement…or to put it another way, we live in a culture of discontent…or yet another way to look at it is that we are a culture of complainers. We complain about everything from an internet connection that takes to long to a Fast Food drive through that took more than 30 seconds to get me my food! We hear it in our spoken and unspoken words of cultural competition with our neighbors. “Why don’t we have one of those…I can’t believe what they did to their yard…when can we get a better car…the Smith’s got a new car, when can we get one?”
Our disenfranchised state stems from a disease I’ll call homosapienmyopisticsm-syndrome…or translated…It’s All About Me-itus. When things don’t go our way, or when our confidants, soul mates or great dates don’t have that Houdini-esk ability to fathom the depth of our minds and answer our needs and wants before we have actually articulated them.
Let down after let down, and broken communication after broken communication have lead to a self imposed wall of expectations that would cause even Gandhi and Mother Theresa to blow it! We seem to forget one massive point in all our expectational living…we are merely human, prone to drop the ball and prone to think you heard her say “Where’s little Eddie” when in reality she said, “I’m all ready!” for which a clash of misunderstood words were volumized as the search for little Eddie began, and you notice a haze of confusion slowly shrouds her face into a contortion of wrinkles and lines around the eyes asking the unspoken question, “Does he/she ever “hear” me?”
Soon we become the Eeyores of the philosophical world espousing a belief in doom and conspiracy that leaves us lifeless and always wondering if Aunt Bertha is really who she says she is…or why no one seems able to simply “Get It.” This creates within the heart a superhighway to disenfranchisement, often resulting in abandoning the quest that God placed within your heart.
The spiritually disenfranchised live another reality. Have you ever been living in the land of spiritual atrophy? I have, it isn’t fun, pretty, or easy to figure out. Generally, you have no idea how you crossed the border into this new realm, and there is absolutely no road map showing you the way back to Kansas, all you know is that Toto looks frantic.
Our thoughts begin to wonder (and complain if we are honest) about God’s apparent vacation from our earthly reality, and that maybe the world needs a “Mighty Smiter” again to right the wrongs so visible to us as we cocoon against the forces of an out of control culture.
If we are afraid to vocalize or admit to God that we have thoughts about how well He is or is not doing His job (by the way, He already knows what you think) it all internalizes, germinates, sprouts some wicked wings and leaves you stuck in no mans land. Maybe life has dealt you a serious blow…maybe a spouse walked out with no warning…maybe there was a company shift at work that left you without work…whatever the situation, if we don’t feel safe to approach God in raw honesty, we really do not have an active relationship with Him, but one of fear, denial, lack of honesty to keep a supposed peace…in other words, the kind of relationships we are probably experiencing on the human level which has left us dazed, confused, and scared.
This reality tend to magically grow suction grips on our hands as well tenaciously hold on to, clutch, strangle or grasp anything that seems to give us meaning, purpose, or a medication from the reality that life is not flowing on the outside or the inside the way our hearts and minds believe it should be progressing. And guess what? These behaviors are generally a huge reason there is a relational disconnect in our lives vertically with God and horizontally with others.
The symptoms are not the reasons, they are a result of the spiritual disenfranchisement which has a deeper root which is a struggle with God. The way out is closer than you think..The Kingdom of God is so close. The move to realign is so close, but it takes courage!
The incredible thing is that when we get here…an honest, raw, incongruent, confused place…religion goes right out the window. Often we try to figure out the problem through religion (sometimes religion is the problem!), but what God desires is truth in the inmost place of your heart…He can handle your thoughts, struggles, doubts, anger, pain, blame-shifting…
Courage leads to honesty…Honesty leads to integrity…Integrity leads to peace…Peace increases our faith…Faith reveals the infinte!
I love what Paul said to young believers who were once an anathema to Israel and cut off from the heart of God:
To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
The disenfranchised have two options: 1. Lose heart and lose life, or 2. Boldly enter the reality of God with all your questions, concerns and cares. God will meet you there, He will never be unavailable for you, He will never be on an extended coffee break. Your call will never get lost in transfer…
So perhaps part of the quest and part of the journey is to enter the realization that on many levels we are all spiritually disenfranchised at varying degrees. Interacting with and identifying those areas are part of the Sovereign plan to open the spiritual eyes of your heart illuminating the infinite. Denial eliminate the infinite, it only hurries the finite, and you were made for so much more.
Let’s end this with some higher thought from Paul, who experienced life in all it’s fullness…mountaintops and prison cells…yet through his honesty, his disenfranchisement drew Him into the heart of the One who caused him and loved him.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.