I have not listened to the message, nor has anyone commented about some of this, so I want to clarify something that in my “gut” I feel needs clarification. During the message yesterday, I made some comments about how a liberal “tree hugger” can have as much hatred in their heart toward those who dessimate forests to build houses (or kill cows to eat beef) as a red-blooded conservative can have toward any radical terrorist, wanting to just “blow them all to hell,” (for those not there, I qualified this prior to saying and pointed it out as an actual condemning statement). The point being that we are ALL sinners and loving “enemies” is something only the church is equipped (by grace) to do in Christ Jesus.
First of all, remember the context of the statement was about the church, not government. The point is, as believers, Romans 12 makes clear that we are to even feed our enemies (those who persecute us) and not take revenge out on them. The comparison with the above statements is that we are not allowed to separate our political view from our Christian worldview. While there is a biblical case for justifiable war (for the sake of civic protection and peace), there is also the danger of wanting to kill any and all that appear to have treated us (as Christians) with disdain and contempt. Where that gets very “cloudy” for us is that you can have some say “amen” to turn the other cheek and the same people drive by the mosque on U of A’s campus and instead of feeling a burden for the loss, feel hatred and a desire to rid our nation of all of “them.”
I don’t mean this as harsh as it sounds. We should be grateful that we are a church set in the presence of the University, with the world at our doorstep. I was making NO political statement at all. I simply meant to extend our Christian lifestyle to even those who “appear” to be numbered with our national enemies. In all cases, we are to exemplify Christ, support and pray for our governmental leaders and be willing to live out what the Bible says about dealing with our enemies no matter how radical it may seem.
In retrospect, I just did not have the time to explain all of this in detail and probably should not have included it as such an emphatic point. Does this make sense or am I over-thinking this one?
3 thoughts on “Clarification from Yesterday’s Message…”
3 Scriptures come to mind…
“You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matt 5:43-44
These words were spoken by Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount. The crowds would have understood “those who persecute you” as both the ruling Jewish council and the Roman Empire, and NO ONE wanted a Deliverer who would require them to love their enemies! Their hope was for physical deliverance from persecution and the re-establishment of the great nation of Israel. Jesus would not allow their satisfaction to rest on either.
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor 2:14
Here is yet another evaluation of our salvation. Do we hear the words of Jesus and still feel hatred towards those who threaten our sense of security? Are we not called to pray diligently for representatives of every tribe, tongue and nation to come to faith in Christ? If we have no sense of conviction regarding our hard-heartedness towards the lost, we may not know the One who knows our sin to be just as condemning.
“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. Purge the evil person from among you.” 1 Cor 5:9-13
These are difficult words from Paul to an issue-laden church. Paul had been told of immorality in the church and wanted to clarify a previous letter where he called the church not to associate with the immoral. This Scripture bears on your blog topic simply because it reminds us that our judgments are reserved for the Church, not the outside world. Paul even asks, “For what have I to do with judging outsiders?” and continues with, “Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?” It is tempting to lay our condemnations on every “idolater, reviler, and drunkard” in the world around us yet wink at our own sinfulness. In contrast, it is the lost world we should love and reserve hatred for our own sin.
We are to be a “peculiar” people and that makes us very hard for the world to understand.
You are calling and leading us to be peculiar.
I don’t believe that any additional explanation was needed. In fact, it was all too plain to me! We can hide our prejudice for others under the cloak of nationalism, or political identity, or anything else, but it is still sin. And certainly no political leaning or organized group has the corner on sinful prejudice. We are all guilty at some time or another of thinking less of others and not looking on them as lost souls that God loves and desires to have in His Kingdom. Preach on Brother!