Last week I was having a conversation with my good friend Dean about the conflicts and divisions we see in the Church  over a variety of issues, all of which are controversial. This is the text of his email responding to me. I pray that you find it as eye opening as I did:
Controversial Issues and the Christian
“This commentary is meant simply to encourage  the people of God to view all that happens and every issue in life through totally non-judgmental, non-condemning, non-partisan, and non-political eyes.
One Sunday in church, shortly before the 2008 Presidential Election, our Senior Pastor emphasized the importance of praying over our individual voting decisions and then voting, as we felt led by the Spirit. Then, he made a statement that made me want to stand up and shout, “AMEN!!!” at the top of my lungs. Unfortunately (or fortunately), there were people sitting right in front of me. (-: The statement was simply this, “I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I am a Christian!”
What a glorious day it will be when the people of God wake up and realize that, as Evangelical Christians, we are not Democrats or Republicans, Black or White, Conservatives or Liberals, Right or Left, we are Christians (Galatians 3:28). Nor are members of any of these groups any more or less Evangelically Christian than the others. Believe it or not, as Christians we win in some ways and lose in others regardless of who America Chooses as President and where he/she stands on the array of issues we face in this country. Face it; ANY ELECTED OFFICIAL will have views that are consistent with Christian values in some areas and inconsistent in others. There are very good, strong Evangelical Christians voting and serving our country on both sides of any election basically because all of the issues we face are far more complicated than the politicians want us to believe, and we have differing views on how to advance God’s plan in our lives and in this world.
As it relates to this commentary, I believe that the primary goal of politicians is to put every issue and everybody into nice neat little boxes with labels of THEIR choosing, NOT God’s. That way they can manipulate our thinking to suit their biases.
On more than one occasion I’ve asked myself these questions:
- Would I champion a law that makes Abortion illegal?
- Would I champion a law that makes Sex outside of marriage illegal?
- Would I champion a law that makes Adultery illegal?
- Would I champion a law that makes Divorce illegal?
- Would I champion a law that makes Gluttony or Drunkenness illegal?
- Would I champion a law that makes Ignoring the Needs of Others who are starving and dying everyday in this world illegal?
- Would I champion a law that makes Lust, Pride, or Arrogance illegal?
- Would I champion a law that makes Lying illegal?
- Would I champion a law that makes Idolatry, Greed, or Materialism illegal?
If so, what should be the penalty or legal ramifications of breaking such laws?
Whether or not my answers to these questions are, “yes” or “no” is not the issue. Again, we have differing views on how to advance God’s plan in our lives and in this world. The issue is whether or not I am willing to answer them all the same way.
You see, the attitude or behavior addressed in each question is equally wrong (sinful) in the eyes of God’s and each carries the same penalty. Therefore, they should be equally wrong (sinful) in the eyes of God’s people and all carry the same weight. Make no mistake about it, EACH ONE of the behaviors and attitudes listed above is a horrible sin, and there is NO defense for any of them!
My guess is that every single one of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, has been (and in some cases, are still) guilty of one or more of the offenses listed above.
In light of all that I’ve said here, my encouragement is that, as people of God, we stop thinking like the world (especially the politicians), stop pointing fingers, and start loving others (from the homeless thief on the street to the President of the United States) right where they are! After all that’s what God did for us (Rom 5:8-9). I also want to encourage us to take inventory of our own lives, look at the list of questions again, make lists of our own, and then, “Let he who is without sin (or fault) champion the first law”, but be willing to start with OUR sin and treat all other issues with the same consistency as God when it comes to passing laws! And for God’s sake, don’t judge your brother because he has different views than you on how to advance God’s plan in our lives and in this world!
We are called to love God and love people. However, this notion of judging people we don’t know while at the same time “lovingly” praying for them is inconsistent with what it means to love.”
Food for thought:
Are we asking the world to bring their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors regarding these issues into alignment with the will and standards of a God that THEY DO NOT know or believe in, while at the same time we have not managed to do so regarding these same issues for that same God, who WE DO know and believe in?
This was a well thought out and challenging email I got from Dean. What are your thoughts? Has this challenged you? Share with us in the comments.