I think I picked a pretty awful time to need to get well in America, y’all. I mean, election season will make a person sick all over again amIright? Everyone has their candidate and is uber-loyal to that one in particular. There’s some serious passion going on in this election game.
One thing that keeps showing up (and has made certain I deleted the Facebook app from my phone) is the serious hatred being spewed on both sides of the political spectrum. Specifically from Christians! I keep reading these posts filled with anger and cruelty towards the opposing candidates and their supporters and I’m thinking: “how is this what our nation has come to?”
How is it that a presidential election has brought our country to such baseness? How is it that people are at this point where they are so invested in a presidential candidate that they so obviously quit listening to the real leader, God?
Oh, I know, I know. People are always willing to talk all about how God is telling them to vote for their candidate. And I understand that. But, let’s set that aside for a moment shall we?
If we, as a people, are setting our faith in our president, then that is where we have gotten it so wrong …
Our faith must remain in the Lord. And yes, we must vote according to our conscience. But we must also stop the hatred toward those that disagree with our point of view. The fact that Christians are cursing their candidate’s opponent and being nasty to those that support the opposition is a problem for the church.
Romans 13 tells us that we are “subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” Hard stuff, isn’t it? But I don’t think it is coincidence that Paul follows up his letter about submitting to authority with a reminder to LOVE. He says:
The commandments. . . are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:9)
There is no stipulation here of love your neighbor except when he/she disagrees, is different, has other beliefs. No, love your neighbor as yourself. Period. End of discussion. It is a command. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but love doesn’t look like hatred and cruelty. Love doesn’t look like exclusion and judgement. Love doesn’t look like what we’ve been putting out there for the world to see.
Christians, we are doing our faith a great disservice when we behave this way. We are showing the world exactly what they’ve always believed about us – that we’re judgmental, hypocritical, and anti- anyone who doesn’t look like/act like/believe like us. How are we going to spread our faith acting like this?
There’s an old southern saying, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” I’m pretty sure Jesus was all about the honey. Let’s not forget who he hung out with – the outliers, outcasts, prostitutes, drunks, adulterers, and (gasp!) tax collectors. He lived out the commandment to love His neighbor as himself. He created a movement because of it.
When we, as Christians, act the way I’ve been seeing online, we create a movement alright … but it is a movement of people heading AWAY from the church. Away from the very Christ who would hang out with, love, and accept each one of us with open arms.