Tuesday, February 16, 2010

There Are Christians Who Always Think in Terms of...

In this age of multiculturalism and often excessive tolerance, the idea that "Western society is getting more hostile to Christianity every year" is practically a creed in many churches. It may be true; but it isn't quite the exclusive oppression many think it is. Practically every special-interest group, irrespective of religious or moral convictions, now regularly claims that their worst enemies run the media and government and that "everyone is tolerated--except us."

How much of this is legitimate reaction to genuine injustices--and how much is simply a manifestation of the truth that anyone determined to find something to complain about will eventually succeed? As individuals, how can we know when to openly protest, when to turn the other cheek, and when to give others the benefit of the doubt?

A good place to start would be to put away any assumptions that we (and the ways "our own" "always did things") must automatically be right. Godly humility based in love for the world can accept that even its enemies--even those so influenced by evil that they consider violence a legitimate way to make a point--may occasionally have some valid criticism. Or may actually be God's way of getting His point across. Are we really such "good Christians no one has a right to hurt" if we emulate the Israelites of Jeremiah 7:1-11--making gods of our own comfort and pleasure, ignoring the harm our pursuit of such may do others, and insisting throughout that God is on our side because we go to church regularly? (See also the much-quoted "$3 Worth of God," by Wilbur Rees.)

A serious reading of the Bible, especially the prophets and Gospels, might lead us to the uncomfortable conclusion that the sin God personally finds most abhorrent isn't sexual misbehavior, or violence, or even bigotry.

It's a sense of smug self-satisfaction in His presumed most loyal followers.

There are Christians who always think in terms
Of "my country right or wrong,"
Who ignore the oppressed and bask in wealth,
And are proud to be counted among the strong.
But Christ came as a Servant and not a chief,
And was counted among the poor:
So, you rich, beware: it may be your Lord
Who is constantly knocking upon your door!

There are Christians who always think in terms
Of "it's us against power's hand,"
Who fight battles and wars at every turn
And are proud to think of it as "taking a stand."
But Christ came in respect and humility,
And preached love for our enemies:
So, you fighters, think: it may be your Lord
Who is saying, "But there are logs in your eyes!"

As Christ's servants, we should know when to fight
And know when to respect the rules:
Yet so quickly we slide to human "sense,"
Till we find ourselves standing among the fools.
If we wish to truly walk in His steps
And to touch the world with His Word,
Let us keep our hearts in humility
And forever aware He alone is Lord!

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