A California pastor spoke passionately from the pulpit on Sunday, telling his congregation to “choose hope, not fear” — a message he sent as our ever-divided nation continues to both praise — and decry — the election of Republican Donald Trump.
Pastor Shane Idleman of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, discussed an array of issues, emphasizing the “the importance of speaking God’s truth,” praising churches as beacons of hope and expressing his belief that the media perpetuate divisive messages.
“The pulpits are vitally important for the condition of our nation, because they speak the voice of truth,” Idleman preached, saying there are forces that want to see churches silenced for this very reason.
It was a sermon Idleman said was based on his quest to emphasize truth to his congregation.
“The pulpits used to be the beacon of Truth and unity. Our silence is deafening,” he told Faithwire after the sermon was delivered. “This is not about Republican and Democrat, it’s about giving people the facts.”
Watch the message below:
While Idleman didn’t preach about specific candidates or political parties in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, he did say he’s tired of being called a “racist, sexist, discriminatory person” on social media, and blamed the media for perpetuating the divisiveness that continues to unfold in society.
“A lot of the media and what they’re actually doing is, they’re fueling hatred,” he said, imploring people to be careful where they’re getting their information from. “They’re fueling all of these other things.”
Idleman imagined what would happen if the media started focusing more on positive stories and narratives, saying it “would just change the hearts of the people.” In the end, he said much of what is happening is essentially spiritual in nature.
“The enemy 2,000 years ago wanted to silence the voice of truth,” he said. “What does he want to do now? He wants to silence the voice of truth.”
Idleman went on to discuss sin, his belief that people are too used to receiving handouts, the idea that “hard work is biblical” and the message he would want to deliver to young people if given the chance.
“Work hard while you’re young, learn a good, hard work ethic, learn what character is,” he said. “It’s good to work hard.”
Toward the end of that portion of his sermon, Idleman also addressed racism, saying he believes it has always been in the world, but that the Christian church “comes alongside and removes that racism and shows what love looks like.”
Idleman, who is caucasian, shared a story about a car full of people who he said drove by him and his wife last Wednesday and screamed an expletive about Donald Trump, apparently assuming he had supported the Republican. Afterward, he said he walked to his car “a little shaken.”
“Who’s fueling that?” he said of instances like these on both sides. “This is fueled by the enemy.”
Then, he concluded by imploring parishioners: “Choose hope, not fear, is what we must do.”
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