I am officially TIRED now. I normally refrain from political/social commentary on here because I’m not a fan of controversy or conflict. Plus when you always want everybody to like you, like I do, you learn to swallow your opinions. But I feel a lot like Jeremiah right now. I’ve got something that’s “like fire shut up in my bones” and I can’t hold it in any longer, even at the risk of being misunderstood. All I ask is that you please hold your stones until the end. Basically, I am tired of us - Christians - the whole lot of us! Could it be that we, in our culture and our world view where it’s all about our rights and freedoms, have we perhaps missed it or gotten off course somewhere?
In the past month I had two experiences with two very different Christian radio stations that each left me emotionally and spiritually drained. The most recent incident happened just last night. I was listening to the local gospel station and there was a discussion about the same-sex marriage issue. A woman called in to give her point of view. She started by saying that we should consult the Manufacturer’s original instruction on this issue. She said that God’s original design for marriage was between a man and a woman and I totally agree. Then radio host asked her about that person who is living a homosexual lifestyle, but really loves the Lord. To which she quickly replied, “They couldn’t possibly love the Lord because the Bible says if you love me you’ll keep my commands.” The very idea was preposterous to her - you could hear it in her voice. The host asked her about judging and she replied that she simply loves what God loves and hates what He hates. She loved the person, but not the sin.
I felt my face getting hot in reaction to her response. (It’s been a while. I had forgotten what anger feels like.) I wondered, ‘where is the love in that response?’ I’m not talking warm fuzzies worldly kind of love here; I’m talking about that genuine agape love for people that longs to point them to Jesus and see Him transform their lives. I thought about all the ways I fall short every single day and it occurred to me that using her logic; I don’t really love the Lord either then… Don’t get me wrong, I know exactly what she meant and there’s no doubt she was sincere in her convictions. In fact, a couple years ago I would have offered the very same opinion verbatim.
I’m sure it has a bit to do with the people God has put back into my life lately, some of whom happen to be homosexuals. If I’m to minister to them my heart needed to change, not with regard to the sin mind you, but in my approach. I had to begin to see that they are not what they do, but who they are - just like me - and build from there..
These days, I’m looking to Jesus’ example and to my own personal responsibility as it concerns impacting the world around me. Paul asks in Romans 14:4 who we are to judge another man’s servant and I had ask myself the same thing. Paul goes on to say that that man's Master that is the One who is able to make him stand, so I leave the convicting to the Holy Spirit; besides He does it so much better. I’ll stick to pointing people to Jesus through my words and actions toward them. What did Jesus offer the woman at the well? He knew she was a sinner and so did she. Rather than to beat her up about it Jesus simply revealed Himself to her and THAT is what made the difference in her life and consequently in the lives of the people in her city! I want to have that kind of impact that Jesus had. I don’t ever want block anyone view of Him.
A few weeks back I was listening to the conservative Christian station a few weeks back (you know the one where everyone knows God is a republican - duh!) and the host was bashing the president, the current administration and the policies they were trying to implement. There was a guest on the show, a conservative attorney explaining why none of President Obama’s plans will work etc, etc. I have no problem with the fact that these men disagree with the president. What pricked my heart was the obvious lack of respect with which they spoke about our current president. It’s hard to describe, but there was such a disdain in their voices; a contempt, if you will, that came through the airwaves and my heart was so deeply grieved all of a sudden. I had to pull over and I just sobbed because I felt like, in a way, the Holy Spirit was also grieved.
(SIDEBAR: Incidentally, I felt the exact same way whenever I would hear someone express contempt for former President Bush. Regardless of who is in the office it just isn’t right - bottom line.). In my spirit, I just knew it wasn’t right. The Bible tells me to pray for my leaders not bash them. But the culture tells me I have freedom of speech and I have the right to say whatever I want about whomever I want. I guess the question then is Whose law am Iunder?
Based on these two incidents and others that would turn an already too long post into a novel, I'm examining myself and the scriptures. I need to remember some things and that will affect how I love and respect others. First of all, I need to remember that sin is sin as far as God is concerned. There are no levels or degrees of sin in His eyes. Second, I need to remember that, with the exception of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, all sin is forgivable. Third, I need to remember that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God - so none of us is exempt. The idea is to point people to Jesus, to model a relationship with Him to a world that so desperately needs Him.
This is just my perspective of course and I’m open to seeing things another way. When all is said and done I just want to be on God’s side. Today, however, I’m left with questions for myself and the whole family of God. Am I reflecting Kingdom or culture? Does it point others to Jesus when I speak ill of my leaders regardless of how I may feel about them or there beliefs, personally? How much more effective would I be if I channeled the energy I spend disagreeing and grumbling praying instead? How much more effective would it be for me to put down my sign and not to depend on government to legislate our culture’s morality? What if I chose instead to take personal responsibility as a bearer of the Light to live it out in my own life and to get involved in the lives of the people around me on a personal level (the young teen considering abortion, the gay couple down the street, the poor misguided democrat/republican/libertarian/independent I work with…)? What would Jesus do? My heart's desire is to find out and then go and do likewise.
Ok, I think I’m done. Now - let the stones fall where they may…