Based on John 8:21-32
I’m writing this week’s meditation after a two week break while attending the 50th Quadrennial General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. I had planned to write about what happened at that productive and historic meeting – and I may write about that next week – but God has a way of changing our plans.
God led me to watch the first night of the 2016 Republican National Convention that featured a speech by Melania Trump, the wife of GOP Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump. Her speech was heartfelt and articulate, but it wasn’t entirely original. Entire passages of her speech were literally identical to the words of First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Beyond the humorous irony that Mrs. Trump plagiarized the words of a First Lady who has – with her husband and our current President – been criticized, reviled and ridiculed by Donald Trump and those in their political party, it’s obvious that she was striving for authenticity and trying to paint her husband in a kinder light. She was so focused on that goal that she relied on words crafted by others and failed to be “for real.”
What Mrs. Trump did in her speech – no matter how ill advised, hypocritical and politically damaging – isn’t that different from what many of us do. We live in a world that emphasizes success through conformity, and the best of us sometimes say what we think that this world and those in it expect us to say instead of what we really think so that we can be praised, accepted and impressive – the best of us often fail to “keep it real.”
We’d do well to remember that those of us who are Christian believe in a Savior Who never failed to “keep it real” in what He said and did – even when His words offended the religious “powers that be” of His day – and who “kept it real” when He died on the cross as the price for our sins and then arose to assure us of everlasting life.
Take the time to walk with our Savior and to “keep it real” in all that you say and do and in spite of this world’s expectations and criticism. When we do so, the God of our Salvation will bring us hope and joy, give us enduring victory and peace of mind and remind us in ways great and small of why those who faced the reality of American slavery still sang, “Whatever you do for the Lord, let it be real.”