This really isn’t a political post, so please don’t read it that way. It’s written to my follow believers no matter how they voted and which party (if any) they support.
Like you, I have seen over the course of the last several months Christians behaving badly. This was most recently demonstrated over and over again in the news clips of people storming the Capitol Building some carrying Jesus banners, crosses and wearing Christianese paraphernalia. I have seen videos of pastors praying for curses to be brought upon those who disagreed with their political view. Some Christians, even well-known Christian leaders, have been guilty of spreading false rumors. Others have called for insurrection and extoled the use of violence in the name of Jesus. I’ve seen white supremacists and those blatantly exposing racist attitudes declaring a devotion to Jesus (sometimes in the same sound bite). If Jesus were still in the grave, he’d be rolling over. Instead, surely Jesus is disgusted by what has been done in his name by a few nut cases and a few whose eyes are no longer fixed on Him.
Here’s the problem, like you and me, my non-Christian friends and acquaintances have seen this unsurely business too. They have seen the minority of Christians behaving badly, thinking this is all of Christianity and have said a big “Thanks but no thanks” to anything related to Christians. If we define “Christian” as being a follower of Christ, then we need to start acting like Jesus. We need to modify the campaign slogan of four years ago. Let’s “Make Christianity Christian Again.”
Let’s preach, teach and live out the lessons of Jesus. Let’s pray for those who disagree with us (our enemies). Let’s refuse to curse those who curse us. Let’s be peacemakers. Let’s love people—all people. Let’s not be afraid to eat with the “tax collectors and other sinners” of our day. Let’s be a good neighbor. Let’s not cast the first stone, and yet still be bold and loving enough to say, “Go and sin no more.” Let’s bring healing and help. Let’s be quick to forgive and quicker to seek forgiveness. Let’s be slow to speak, slower to anger and slowest at being first. Let’s pick up the basin and towel and serve. Let’s remember to also pick up our cross daily. Let’s be like Jesus. Let’s Make Christianity Christian Again.
Usually I take this space to offer an encouraging word; maybe a light-hearted little piece; or a commentary on the church. Following yesterday’s images from Washington D.C that were broadcast across the country, as a pastor (not as a politician), I am compelled to offer this:
America is divided. Like never before in my lifetime, we are not a “united” state. My heart is heavy and sad. In the midst of such chaos and turmoil, there can be a few things on which followers of Jesus agree. Such as:
- What happened at the Capitol Building yesterday was a disgrace.
- Yesterday’s events have once again exposed that we have problems in our country. Lots of problems. Problems that will not go away overnight.
- Violence is not the answer to our many problems.
- Jesus is correct when he said in Mark 3:25, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” Houses, churches and/or countries in this context are all the same. Division leads to destruction.
- The answer to our world’s greatest problems is Jesus. We have just celebrated the season when we had the audacity to believe prophet Isaiah’s words considering the Babe of Bethlehem: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Given the above facts, can we, followers of Prince of Peace, join together in praying for our country? Jesus called us to love and pray for even our enemies. Such a call includes praying for the following people…
- Those with whom we disagree
- Those who voted differently than us
- Politicians and leaders on both sides (all sides) of the aisle
- Those who were hiding in offices as rioters stormed the Capital Building
- Those who were doing the storming
- The police officers who were trying hard to protect and serve
- Our children who watched yesterday’s unfolding drama and today are wondering about the country we will one day hand over to them
My heart breaks for our nation. Our greatest weapon is prayer (Ephesians 6:18). So let’s pray. Our greatest attribute is love. So let’s love one another (John 13:34). Our great temptation will be to take our eyes off Jesus and onto something or someone else. So let’s keep our “eyes fixed on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
Will America recover from this divisiveness? I do not know. Will Jesus be Lord when all is said and done? Yes, He will!