Have you noticed how since the 2016 presidential campaign, we've reached new "lows" for how we treat one another? The contempt and name calling during the campaign shocked us. Being unfairly labeled and condemned for our political and religious convictions saddened us and perhaps made us angry. Disrespect for our fellow Americans has reached the highest office. CNN television host Kathy Griffin posted a photo of her holding a fake severed head of President Trump. Television host Joy Behar referred to Vice President Pence's Christian faith as "mental illness." What is our position and what is our voice in the midst of the scorn, fear, mockery, and derision? Does it matter and if so, to whom?
Our Position Matters to God
Jesus is clear that the positions we take on earth in regard to Him and others matters. First and foremost, our position to Christ is to be one of denying ourselves in order to follow Him. We are to live for Him, not just when we're singing praises with fellow believers on Sunday mornings, but also when we're talking politics and policy with others. Our positions are to demonstrate Christ's mind and Spirit, not our fleshly reactive nature.
Second, our position in relation to others is to be as Christ's was in relation to others. He stood for righteousness. He forgave people while at the same calling for lives in keeping with the grace extended to them. He loved others, but admitted to not entrusting Himself to anyone but God. He taught us to pray for our enemies.
After Christ's accession, His voice continued through His apostles. "Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God." (Romans 13:1) "Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king." (1 Peter 2:17)
Our Words Matter to God
Not only does it matter to God if we're haughty toward one another; but our words also matter. Jesus said, "The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart." He warns, "I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment." (Matthew 12:34, 36)
Jesus' brother, James, warns, "If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless." (James 1:26)
What are we to do if we realize our position and words reflect a bitter and resentful heart toward people on the different side of the aisle from us?
God understands our dilemma and has an answer and provision. First, He explains in no uncertain terms that we think and act differently from Him. He is holy. We're sinners. His initial act of intervention in our lives is to extend grace and forgive us on the basis of Christ's sacrificial death on the cross. His second act of love is to gift us with His Holy Spirit. He places His divine nature within us so that we have a governing influence besides the one with which we were born. This is great news because even the most blessed of children born to the most wonderful parents still has what the Bible refers to as a "fallen" sub-heavenly nature.
A Christian is a new creation with a dual nature: their human nature and their divine nature. Their first nature is from their earthly parents. Their second nature is from their Heavenly Father. The dual natures are hostile to one another. For the rest of the believer's life the dual natures duel it out. This is not just the believer's dilemma, but also their hope. When we live and walk by the Spirit of God, we are witnesses of the Divine nature in us.
In the arena of politics, it is important that as we engage in public policy and political discussions, but that we do so with Christ's decorum.
2 Ways to Respond to What's "Happening Now" in America
Christians are called to live in the world in a way that reflects Christ. We accomplish this through prayer, the study of Christ's teachings, and yielding to His divine nature.
There are two ways to respond to what's "happening now" in America. Will we respond with cutting, derogatory words or in prayerful, constructive ways that honor Christ? The choice is ours.