Do you ever feel like we are all just being played against each other? Last week, the Supreme Court was the enemy to half the country and the potential savior to the other half. This week it’s reversed. We are told who our enemies should be. One day it’s the oil and gas companies, the next it’s illegal immigrants. We are either red states or blue states, one way or another. And whatever your beliefs or affiliations, forward this to ten people or America will turn into communists, aristocrats, capitalists, or whatever you fear the most.
I truly fear that this year the politics and culture of fear and division will be worse than our country has seen in years. And unfortunately, many churches will cause as much division as any other group will.
There are lots of approaches churches and Christians can take in this culture. Certainly when the church has an opportunity to extend Gods Kingdom and Gods will through the marking of a ballot we should be willing to do so. And yet, I think the founding fathers had the best interests of the church at heart when they insisted on the separation of church and state. They weren’t worried about the influence of church, but rather they were afraid of the influence of government on the church. And to some extent, I worry about this today. I am afraid that sometimes the world convinces us that we should be enemies with one another and we forget that as Christians, what unites us is far greater than what divides us.
I want to mention two passages from Paul. The first from 1 Corinthians 1 and the second from 1 Timothy 2.
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?”
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
The first passage reminds us that our loyalty doesn’t belong to people, but it belongs to Christ and that this loyalty should eliminate divisions and create unity among all the believers. The second passage tells us to pray for all of those in authority that we might live peaceful lives. Paul wants Christians to “play nice” with the government so that they can focus on what matters most, for all people to be saved. When Christians pursue unity and focus on seeking and saving the lost, the world will take notice and be influenced. It’s when we allow the world to influence us that we instead find ourselves divided. Please pray for unity this year and let your words and actions always be directed towards that goal. After all, if we just go about the business of being the people that Jesus Christ has called us to be, God will take care of the rest.