Barack Obama, fresh on the heels of a victory in the Iowa caucus said this:
Big cities and small towns, you came together to say, 'We are one nation, we are one people and our time for change has come.'
It leads me to wonder about Obama's sense of "nation." And his sense of "people."
Wasn't the caucus just in Iowa, where about 225,000 out of 2.9 million people turned out to caucus? And the majority of those people voted for someone else, not for him. In other words, the majority of Iowans said, "We do not want Barack Obama to be president."
In 2004, the state of Iowa turned out to the tune of 1.5 million people for the general election and elected Bush. So we have minority of 225,000 people speaking "as one nation ... one people"?
I rather doubt it.
Obama may well win. But this type of statement is part of what is wrong with politics (and too often life in general). We do not seem to have many who can see and speak about the actual state of affairs.
So what does this have to do with ministry?
Our counseling rooms (and our own minds in most cases) are filled with people like Obama, who will say whatever will make them look better, even when it's not true. We have an innate tendency to paint our life's picture in the most flattering way to ourselves.
We must confront ourselves and others with great love and kindness but with great directness to get to the heart of the issue. Ask questions like, "What was going on in your heart when you said that?" Or "What did you really want to get by acting that way?"
This reveals the idols of the heart that control the way that we view the world.
Be an idol-digger in your own life and in your own personal ministry with others. Leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of the real issues of the heart. Do not settle for pious platitudes.