North American society just now seems permeated with division, strong opinions, disrespect for one another. A person who desires to stay engaged and informed in our democratic way of life, is easily swept up in all of this. This can be true for Christ-followers as much as for the general populace.
I’ve recently become increasingly puzzled that friends in my Christian circles have come to very different conclusions about current events than I have. How can they not see what seems so obvious to me?!
I’ve tried to understand the other viewpoint. Then something else is said, or done that reinforces my original opinion. Sigh…
So my opinion hasn’t changed.
My assignment as a servant of Christ is not to convince others that they’re wrong about the current political/social climate. I need to stop giving this so much mind-space, emotion-space. I need to focus on the assignment I’VE been given by my Master.
Among other things, that includes:
- loving my neighbour as myself,
- thinking about what is true, honest, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, worthy of praise
- remembering that righteousness and justice are the foundation of God’s throne (Psalm 97:2)
- remembering that He sends the blessing of rain on both the just and the unjust. (Matthew 5:45)
In these days of deep divisions in our society, what is the effect on church congregations? on family groups? Can a Republican and a Democrat work together in the Kingdom of God? A Conservative, Liberal, NDP supporter? A black and a white? Can they worship together in the same pew? Can they even have family dinners together?
Since the First Century, God has emphasized the absolute importance of unity in the Body of Christ. Throughout my lifetime of involvement in the Canadian evangelical scene, I’ve experienced deep deep sorrow in times of ‘church splits’. During mission trips to several parts of the world, I’ve grieved over the lack of co-operation & mutual support among bodies of like faith.
Paul teaches us,
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26-28)
Think of these very disparate groups working together in the Kingdom, worshiping together, sharing authentic heart-felt friendship & love together:
- Jew and Gentile – very different worldviews, attitudes, cultural practices, family practices, and on & on.
- slave or free – possibly slave-owners and slaves working together, worshiping together in the church?!
Yet Paul says,
There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Perhaps to us today, he would say, “There is no longer Republican or Democrat, Trump lovers or Trump haters, Conservatives or Liberals, Blacks and Whites. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Christ broke down the wall of partition between us. Let us not rebuild that wall. “Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility, (the middle wall of partition KJV) toward each other was put to death.” (Ephesians 2:14)
So I pray, “Lord, please help me remember to focus on your assignment for me,. Please help me be an instrument of your love, your peace, your patience and compassion, your care.And when I get taken up with defending my assessment of people or situations, please help me quiet.” myself in your better way.
The better way:
In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, …slave or free. Christ is all that matters, & he lives in all of us. … you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness & patience…. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. … As members of one body you are called to live in peace.” (Colossians 3:11-15)
(*unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures are from New Living Translation, 2nd Ed)