As a Christian, I am almost always shamed and embarrassed by the slanderous political commentary made by Christians. The fact is, I am really no better as I enjoy making sarcastic jokes about how I think both sides are untrustworthy liars. Which is not exactly putting my best foot forward.
I recently ran across an article on this subject and it grabbed my attention. Here’s is a portion of it:
“Political discourse is the Las Vegas of Christianity—the environment in which our sin is excused. Hate is winked at, fear is perpetuated and strife is applauded. Go wild, Christ-follower. Your words have no consequences here. Jesus doesn’t live in Vegas.
“Not only are believers excused for their political indiscretions, but they are often applauded for committing them. Slander is explained away as righteous anger; winning arguments are esteemed higher than truthful ones (whether or not the “facts” align); and those who stir up dissension are given the pulpit…
“Rather than engage in the political process, Christians have a duty to elevate it. Like any other sin, we are called to stand above the partisan dissension and demonstrate a better way. Should we have an opinion? Yes. Should we care about our country? Yes. Should we vote? Yes. But it’s time we talk politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocks them.“Roberts, Bryan. “7 Things Christians Need to Remember About Politics.” Relevant. 4 September 2012. https://www.relevantmagazine.com/current/politics/7-things-christians-need-remember-about-politics
The author makes some valid points in the article and I began to speculate why many people (especially Christians) show such hate for those with differing opinions. Hate is not something encouraged in (most) Christian circles.
When asked what is the most important commandment, Jesus said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
He also said, “The three most important things to have are faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
This ethereal “love” is a hot topic for Christians (and Beetles fans!).
- “All You Need is Love.”
- “Make Love, Not War.”
- “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”
- “Endless Love”
- “One Love”
Anyway, you get the point. We love to wax poetic about love. But other than a quick utterance of “love ya” to our spouse as we bound out the door or uncontrollably screaming “I LOVE THIS SONG” every time our playlist advances, how do we really express love in our day-to-day lives. Whether you like the guy or not, Jesus provided us a perfect example when he protected the prostitute (John 8:1-11).
The church leaders of His day wanted to kill a particular adulteress because of her life choices (the guy she was caught with was noticeably absent from prosecution, but that’s another issue). The way they were treating her seems no different than the way I see so many Christians today attacking others that do not share their beliefs.
Jesus did three specific things in a specific order to show his love to everyone involved in this situation.
The first thing he did was to protect the girl. He did this without reservation or condition. The church leaders were about to kill her and knowing that she probably didn’t know who He was and that she was most likely guilty of the charges, He immediately risked His life to stop the execution. This is the purest example of unconditional love. Knowing she made different life choices, that she may never decide to follow Him and by law she could be executed, He still loved her enough to risk everything to stand beside her in her time of need.
Secondly, He respectfully disagreed with the leaders. When they said they had the right to kill her, Jesus essentially said, “OK, I see your point. If you have never screwed up and never made a mistake, then go ahead and kill her.” He did not call them liars, insult their reputation or be disrespectful in any way. He loved them, as He loved Himself, by treating them with respect.
Finally, after the leaders left and after Jesus earned the girl’s trust, He told her He did not condemn her. It’s important to note that He said this to her without presenting any conditions.
So how can I show this kind of Love (especially during this politically charged election season)?
- Risk everything to defend those of differing beliefs and life choices.
- Be respectful to those disagreeing with my point of view.
- Refuse to make condemning accusations.
Politicians will come and go, but our reputation of integrity (or lack thereof) will remain. According to Matthew 28:19, showing the world this kind of Love, not getting someone elected, should be our main goal.