“When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, ‘Lord, should we strike with our swords?’ And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
But Jesus answered, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. (Luke 22:49-51)
I fear for the Christian faith in our nation, America, but probably not for the same reasons so many of my Conservative friends do. I’m not living in fear of the Liberals, the Muslim refugees, the feminists, the LGBTQ community, the ACLU, and any other alleged enemy of our Christian ideals. No, I’m much more frightened by my own brothers and sisters in Christ who seem to have forgotten that our entire Faith is based on Love and that the world will know we are Christ’s disciples only by our love for one another (John 13:35).
We have our precious Supreme Court Justices, now. We have our National Day of Prayer. We have our unwavering support of Israel. We have our real news stories that always align perfectly with what we think we know and believe to be true.
But at what cost, my Friends? I’m not saying that any of those things in and of themselves are bad, but I am asking, what did it cost us? With all of that, do we also have more converts to our Christian Faith? Do we have more people who don’t know Christ as their Savior, asking us how to know this God we serve? Because while we posted that meme with the derogatory message against the “Libtards,” “Snowflakes,” and “Idiots” on our Facebook wall, we followed it right up with that inspirational message about the goodness of God’s grace and forgiveness. Surely that counts for something. Surely that “Libtard” who doesn’t know Christ, knows me by my love for others NOW.
We have become so fearful that our supposedly Christian ideals will be trampled on by those who do not know Christ, that upholding those ideals has become more important to us than even Christ himself. We have forgotten to look to Jesus as our example of how Christ-followers should respond to a world lost in sin. We have forgotten, as Christ shows us through His own life, that it is entirely possible to uphold Truth, refuse to compromise our beliefs, and still love those who do not yet know that Truth.
Instead, like the disciple, we have responded to the lost who threaten Christ and His teachings, with violence, whether physically or verbally. And while we’re busy thrashing about our swords with little thought to our words or actions, Jesus is pleading, “No more of this!” While we’re busy looking for that next best meme to attack our “enemies,” Jesus is still trying to work on patching up the bloody mess we’ve left behind in our last self-righteous rant against those who don’t yet know Him.
Let us be reminded that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. And while Jesus was blameless and more pure than any of us before or after Him, He never once fought or slandered those who persecuted Him, falsely accused Him, beat Him, or crucified Him. In fact, some of His very last words that day were, “Father, forgive them.”
But before any of this, after His miracle of feeding the 5,000, people recognized Jesus as the One who had been prophesied about and they, not understanding from an eternal perspective, wanted to make Him king on earth. And what was Jesus’ response to this?
“Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.” (John 6:15)
Perhaps, then, in trying to force a Christian kingdom on this earth,whatever the cost, we not only further isolate the lost, but we also isolate ourselves from the very One we say we are defending, leaving us with a shiny earthly kingdom that has absolutely no eternal value and consists of only those who look just like us, think just like us, and vote just like us.
Forgive me when I lose my temper. Forgive me when I get in the way of Your Kingdom and Your ways. Forgive me when, rather than lead others to You, I become a stumbling block in their path to You. I pray that You would help me trade my earthly perspective for an eternal one. I pray that You would lead me and guide me in standing firm in what Your Word says is true, while also loving others as You have commanded me to do. Help me find the balance of a resolute Faith, unwilling to compromise Truth, with the tempering of Your unconditional love for all mankind. And when I am tempted to yield my sword of self-righteousness against those who oppose You, help me instead, respond as Jesus would.