Ever since the election on Tuesday I’ve been wrestling with several questions in my heart. I read an article last night that helps to solidify this discussion. The article tweeted by Huffington Post Religion (@Huffpostrelig, follow at your own discretion as many of their promoted articles can have liberal themes; in my opinion even those can be interesting to read to know more about other perspectives, but as a Christian you should ALWAYS search the word of God for validation of truth).
This article titled, “Goodbye Christian America; Hello true Christianity” by Rich Stearns (who is the president of World Vision) was VERY interesting. Riding out the end of a very difficult and mudslinging election season many people are depressed and disappointed.
The article writes about many of those same ideas and feelings. Stearns reflects upon the Republican Christians who try to fight for and restore morality by fighting for symbols like the ten commandments in courtrooms, etc. He contrasts those works, and the fact that largely those efforts are failing as portrayed by this recent election, by a pastor’s visit to a small country Lesotho which was ravaged by AIDS and HIV. This pastor’s heart broke knowing that his church could not meet the needs of this village, but he still felt compelled that something needed to be done. He felt God mobilizing him to mobilize his city to care of these people and founded “the Good Neighbor Project” this allowed them to work with various groups in the city to help this small village very quickly. This pastor’s church became known as the one who takes care of aids orphans, instead of simply being the one with the giant Christmas pageant. Stearns reflects that this is an example of how we should affect change in our society.
I’m not intending to discredit the importance of being involved in politics in this country, I think that our government is uniquely designed in such a way that we do have the opportunity to affect change, unlike any of the disciples really at any time in the Bible (besides a few like King David and Queen Esther). Most of them lived as slaves only being able to affect the world around them by their individual actions. However, I am questioning how we as Christians should be involved in politics.
Where in the Bible does it say that Christians should protect the ideals of traditional marriage by outlawing gay marriage? Is marriage a governmental ceremony, or something that God designed? Should non believers be allowed to be married since their marriage will not honor God’s standards? There are passages that clearly reflect God’s judgment for evil nations (read Jer. 18-19 to hear God’s ability to judge a nation that is disobedient, to smash it like a pot at a potter’s wheel and start over with it). I think right now Christians have been fooled by the idea that we can make our nation into a Christian Nation based by what we outlaw or permit legally. As a Christian my conviction for wrong doing should stem from the Bible, not from what the law permits.
Christians have tried loudly to affect change in culture by doing many of the following things: fighting against gay marriage laws, ordering a “Christian Chicken sandwich”, protesting their right to use the name of Jesus when they pray, fighting for the right to display religious symbols in court houses, and avoiding stores that do not allow their employees to wish customers a “Merry Christmas.” While I believe that all of those actions are done out of an intention to honor God, I wonder if all of them do, at least to the extent that there are done. Through those actions has a single person EVER been converted and come to know Christ?
I wonder if we would be more effective about changing the HEARTS of our fellow Americans for Christ by other actions like: focusing on making sure our own marriage is strong to showcase God’s principles by not complaining about or disrespecting our spouses, bringing gift cards or snacks to employees at large department stores who work harder in December with some of the grouchiest customers? John 13:34-35 states that the world will know that we are Christ’s disciples by the love that we display.
I’m not talking about the type of guilty love that permits anything and everything. We can clearly see that a parent who disciplines and corrects their child cares about them. Would a loving parent gladly watch their child stick their hand on a heated coil on top of the stove? Would a loving parent instead prohibit anyone even adults from using a stove top because a child could be burnt? No, a loving parent would firmly tell, yell, and even smack the child’s hand away to prevent their soft skin from burning. Anyone who has read the Bible can tell that God has standards, for HIS PEOPLE. Christians can show what we believe by how we live our lives, instead of trying to force our beliefs at GUN POINT (which is what a law or prohibition will do) on others who do not share these same beliefs.
God punishes nations that do not follow His will, but He also sees our hearts. If we pass moral laws and follow those because they are the law, or at least when people can see, He knows what we do when we think no one else can see. God doesn’t want a country that follows “Biblical principles” and yet their hearts are the furthest thing from Him. He wants the complete package. I believe that God would rather allow His Christian populations to live in a country that is against all of our Biblical principles and have to display them of our own accord. The Bible does say that we would be persecuted, and our light is brighter when we realize the true darkness that is around us.
Personally, when I’m freed from the idea that I should try to legislate morality around me I understand that there are people who are trapped in evil and broken. It provides more pressure on me to control my own sinning problems like having a bad attitude and being selfish so that maybe I can share the truth of God that exists in my own heart. If we Christians lived like we were supposed to we wouldn’t need to have laws against the immoral things, we could affect culture and they would see why drugs were harmful to the body, why divorce is destructive, etc.
I believe that if American people could stop making the government enforce all of our religious beliefs, then Christians will not be subject to the democratic mob rule that would make it illegal to pray in Christ’s name, or the home school our children.
Its a difficult concept and I’m still wrestling though many aspects of it. Feel free to posts comments either for or against these ideas, and we can explore together.