Repost from Facebook Notes September 11, 2015
So apparently my words yesterday that I thought might spark a firestorm, actually wound up making my husband chuckle. Let’s see if we can stay on a roll. As I always, I pray God will guide the words, and open the hearts of those who need them. I mentioned a question to non-believers yesterday. In particular, I have in mind those that not only dismiss God as not real, but that vehemently object to Christians behaving as Christians in the world. We have this mentality rampant in our culture right now, and it isn’t just among the non-believers. The commentary from many Christians regarding the activity surrounding Kim Davis up in Kentucky is a perfect example of how Christians have been infected by the same mindset: be a Christian, but only in private, only when it doesn’t bother anyone else or make a ruckus, only when it won’t make us have to explain our beliefs to people who are ridiculing the faith because they don’t like it. The trouble with that is, for Christians, either you’re a Christian all the time, 24/7, or you’re not a Christian. There’s really no way to actually separate your faith from the rest of your life and have your faith survive. Christ didn’t call us to take up our cross and follow Him from 5:30 in the evening after work until 9am the next day when we clock in. He didn’t say follow me on Sunday morning and Wednesday night, then go your own way. Christianity is a whole life deal. Either your whole life is committed to Christ, or it isn’t.
And here’s the thing for all those folks out there asking, demanding, and suing people to try to force them to abandon God in their lives. Have you stopped to really think about what that will look like? I mean I get that it makes you a little uncomfortable and maybe even baffles you when people speak with radiant faces about the wonder of God. I get that it might make you squirm to know that there are actually people in the world that believe in a non-subjective, absolute right and wrong, and try to abide by God’s direction on that. None of us likes to think less of ourselves, and by its very definition, Christianity claims that there is right and wrong, it defines quite a lot of the wrong, and lays out some pretty strong demand in order to be righteous. More than that, even as it makes those demands, it tells us straight up that we can’t do it without God’s help. Those are NOT comfortable propositions, so I get why they make you squirm. But, it’s a free country and while I may pray that you eventually find Christ in your life because even when I don’t know you and may not particularly like you, I do love you enough as one of God’s creations to wish His peace and grace for you. I wish that for everyone. But, like I said, it’s a free country, and just as I am perfectly free to speak of God and follow His commands, you are perfectly free to ignore me and reject His call. Unlike the hysterical claims of so many, we actually don’t live in a theocracy, and there aren’t any Christians around that are asking for one. We live in a country where we are free to follow our faith. And for Christians, that means following it wherever God leads us, all the time. While we are called to live in peace with everyone, as much as it is in our power, we are also called to stand firm on God’s Word and follow His direction above all else.
Horrible, right? How dare we expect to be allowed to claim God’s direction for doing what’s right? Where is the evidence of God? Who are we to judge what’s right or wrong? Who says there even IS a right or wrong? What’s right for you might not be right for someone else. How dare you say that some people will go to hell even if they are good people, well, at least good by our particular society’s standard right now… I get the arguments, and honestly they are a little tired. If nothing else, I am a free citizen of the US and therefore dare to do pretty much all of those things, and do it with a lot more grace and consideration than your average football fan or political pundit when they spout off about what they think of the world, or the other team, or the people who follow the other team. And as a free and thinking citizen, I am here to warn those who demand Christ followers quit following Christ and bow down at the altar of socially acceptable ideas and behaviors. You really wouldn’t like it if we did that.
Our Founders knew something about people that we seem to have forgotten in our ever so enlightened age. Human beings, in spite of fluffy, feel good, half-baked sociological psycho-babble, are at the core motivate by their own self-interest. They aren’t inherently good by nature. Don’t get me wrong, they can do good things sometimes. But, overall, people only do good things if they have a reason that they find pleasing. It might be because it makes them feel pleasant to uphold a cause, or gives them a sense of righteousness if they help someone in need, we call that altruism. It might be because they long to be part of something larger than themselves and once you reject God, you gotta find that somewhere else. It might be so other people will think well of them, or because it makes it easier for them to make a living if they have a good reputation. Or, it might be because they are afraid. But, long term, people are never good simply because they are made that way. By nature, we serve our own self-interest. Don’t believe me? Look at any movement over time, including the institutional churches, and you’ll see what I mean. We might start out with lofty ideas, but they always end in tears for someone. That’s why the Founders set up a government that had a lot of limitations on those in government and a lot of protections for the people being governed. They discovered that if you taught people the benefit of working on common goals when necessary and allowed them to define and serve their own self-interest at the same time, then generally society would keep itself in check.
But they also knew that long term, that wouldn’t be enough. They knew that the core nature of man, prone to avarice, decadence and greed, would eventually corrupt the society. As it did, the limitations on government would not be enough to keep it in check and the liberties of the people would turn to license. So, we read in their commentaries that our governing structures were only sufficient to a religious and moral people. They knew these things because they read their Bibles and studied history and knew what it looked like when Christians did what so many today are asking them to do. They understood the impact of Christians suddenly caving to the demand to quit seeking God, and quit behaving according to His command. It’s about time we had a refresher.
The Bible teaches that God is a number of things. They are all things that as Christians we strive, with His help, to emulate because we love Him and He commands us to. God is Just as a result Christians strive to abide by these rules: no stealing, no murder, no bearing false witness, no coveting, no cheating on your spouse, and generally abiding by the law of the land. God is merciful: no holding grudges, no vengeance, forgiving people who do us wrong to name a few. God is love: no lying to people, no hurting people for the sake of hurting them, so no rape, no beating people up, no slander, no gossip, slow to anger, quick to listen. Being patient, being kind, being gentle, living in peace with everyone to the best of our ability. God is provider: feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, taking care of orphans, visiting prisoners, grieving with the grieved. This is just a small sample of the things God represents in the life of a Christian, and the things we do as followers of Christ, not simply on Sunday morning, but in every aspect of our lives. Looking at that list, a lot of us fail at a lot of them sometimes, but we are accountable for that. God holds us accountable for that, and helps us improve as we seek Him and practice our faith.
So, do you really want the Christians around you to quit being Christians? To give up that powerful God and replace Him with whatever version you find acceptable this week, or nothing at all? Shall we all start lying, cheating and stealing tomorrow because hey, there’s no reason not to. Shall we all begin holding grudges and refusing to forgive you when you act like a jerk? Should we all start hitting everyone who pisses us off, spreading rumors about people we don’t like and being short tempered, mean and confrontational? Perhaps we should quit feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and taking care of people who cannot take care of themselves. Would that make you happy do you think, to live in a world devoid of people who have hope for tomorrow and behave in accordance with grace and faith? Or would it simply make us as miserable as you so often seem to be? Perhaps that’s what you’re after… For myself, I’ll take the hope of Christ, and suffer the scoffers.
Pray always and glorify the Lord.