Well if you haven’t heard, the American Government shutdown. Yep! Sure did! Well, I think at least one department didn’t shut down – the complaint department. At least, judging by comments on social media, that’s the conclusion one would have to draw. The thing I noticed was the tenor of the comments from my Christian brothers and sisters regarding this political matter. I just want to offer a few thoughts on that particular point.
I’ve read comments of Christians ridiculing President Obama, congress, the democratic party (any party involved but the one they have an affinity for really), etc. Invariably, in these posts, lines are drawn (sometimes between blood relatives) and it can get down-right nasty. It’s not that I don’t have a stomach for a good fight( trust me, I LOVE to debate my point on anything) it’s just that i wonder what it would have looked like had a historical figure we Christians highly revere had taken the approach as so many others have over the past few days.
Did you hear about that time Jesus went off on Ceasar’s political policies? Yeah… me neither. Why didn’t Jesus go around condemning the government of His day? I mean, after all, it wasn’t exactly a government bent on helping further His cause. I mean, of course Jesus didn’t have huge political problems like us to deal with. It’s not like Ceasar was trying to reform healthcare on a national level or anything; the ruler of Jesus’ day merely fancied himself a god and wanted worship and tribute in lieu of that perceived deity. (I trust the sarcasm is understood here.) But Jesus didn’t fill His sermon on the mount with rants on the current state of politics in Rome. Nor did Paul seem to be concerned with those issues. Perhaps it was because they were citizens of another kingdom.
“Well,” you may say, “they didn’t have the form of government we do. I have a right to speak up and make my voice heard!” Right you are, His form of government was not as palatable as the one we are under, and we do have the freedom of speech. But I would strongly urge you to consider that above being an “American”, my dear brother/sister, you are first and foremost a citizen of God’s Kingdom. As such, we live by a different law (again, refer to Matthew 5-7 for a good start) the law of love. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. And when we should, it doesn’t mean we can any way we wish. (wow… I felt like Willy Wonka crafted those last two sentences.)
So next time you’re about to post that “rant” on Facebook about how stupid you think your President is here’s a few questions to stop and mull over as a way to help keep us walking in love:
1. Do I know the thing I’m saying to be true, or is it more gossip and/or hype?
2. Is my audience part of the problem and solution?
3. Am I trying to help those who read it, or do I merely wish to be heard?
4. If I were on the other side of the argument, would I hear compassion in my words?
5. What do I hope the result of my words to be?
6. How will this further the kingdom of God?
Of course there are other questions one could ask, but these would be good for starters. We need to make sure that we aren’t putting up barricades to others entering the Kingdom of God because we have some earthly disagreement over healthcare or some other political agenda. Also remember, some of your Christian brothers/sisters are on the other side of your political fence as well.
In short, let’s make sure we’re acting like Jesus, not Glenn Beck.