2020 was a hard year. (Yes, I have accepted the title of ‘Captain Obvious’) Coronavirus, Riots, the Election and all of it became political. 2021 started off about the same, our political divides clearly not healed by the calendar turning over. Worst of all, the people of God are disagreeing so vehemently, we might as well hate our brothers and sisters. (Which is pretty bad for a people that emphasize the Love of Christ)
Christian, remember one very important thing: Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Lord right now. Jesus is Lord over the whole of the universe. There is not a square inch of existence that Jesus does not rightly claim, “Mine.” Jesus is Lord over Trump. Biden. Washington DC. Antifa. The Coronavirus. Dirt. Cheese. Technology. Facebook.
Jesus is Lord over all, even in 2021. We must act like it.
In the Kingdom of God, you have more in common with your siblings in Christ than you do with your political party. Further, for the Christian to demean another Image Bearer, no matter how much you disagree, is wrong. Repent. You may have deeply different convictions than another person, even another believer, but to borderline hate others is not the Way of Jesus.
Well then, what do you suggest we do?
Pray for the prospering of our country and our leaders, even if you disagree with them. Pray for unity amongst the body of Christ. Pray for unity with your fellow citizens. Pray that we will do what is right, even if some will to do evil. Pray that we acknowledge Jesus as Lord.
4 This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the exiles I deported from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Find wives for yourselves, and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons and give your daughters to men in marriage so that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there; do not decrease. 7 Pursue the well-being of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it thrives, you will thrive.” (Jeremiah 29: 4-7, Emphasis Added)
- Love your Enemies
Love your political enemies. Love your spiritual enemies. Love those who hate God. I get it. That’s really hard. I fail at this too. However, it isn’t a suggestion. Jesus commanded it.
43 “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)
- Remember the “D’s”
I’m not sure who came up with this breakdown, but I have found it helpful.
First, there are things you would Die for.
This would be things like Acknowledging Jesus as Lord. Not too many things fall into this category, but we like to make everything a life-or-death battle. Try to keep perspective. Are you willing to die for a particular political candidate? Be careful how you answer. A political candidate is not the same level as Jesus being Lord.
Second, there are things you would Divide for.
This would be things like church structure, the practice of baptism, understanding of salvation, etc. Basically, this is why we have different denominations. At this level, we still love our Christian siblings, but we recognize the impracticality of trying to worship Christ in fundamentally different ways.
Third, there are things you Debate.
Here, at last, we have things like political discussions. We can debate with members of our Church family. Debate can even be good for our development! However, to even to debate well, we must debate in love, looking to understand Christ better at the end of the discussion, rather than simply trying to be right.
While the debate might be important for many reasons (ie politics) we can rest easy knowing that Christ is King regardless of the debate outcome. At the end of the day, Christians should be marked by their love, even in disagreement.
Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:1-5)
29 No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. 30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. (Ephesians 4:29-32, Emphasis Added)
Therefore, brothers and sisters, remember Christ is our King and we are to be known by his love. Even in 2021.
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