Monday, July 25, 2016

Christians Picking Sides

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. -1 John 4:7-8

One of my dearest friends, who is also my muse, has been rather vexed because of the volatile pressures building within Christendom and widening divide between conservatives and liberal thinking polarizing God's people. Which one is the more morally right? I tend to think both are right and both are wrong. Speaking strictly of Christians, both sides could have the right heart, but tackle the problem from a completely opposing and even combative mindset. Both prioritize, focus on making a change for the better as they see it, and push aside all that has less value or is inconsequential to them.

Before I continue I will confess that I am conservative, but at times faced with the problems it can leave in its wake, I wonder if I melt into the shallows of being a somewhat closet liberal. (I said this to my husband once and I thought I was going to have to do CPR.) However, I know that there really is no middle ground. People in the middle are just too wishy-washy for either side.

I used to not like to pick sides. It reminds me of picking team members for a playground game and someone always is always left feeling hurt. There are the firsts, the seconds, the lasts as in the ones nobody really wants...and sometimes ones who are just plain left out. Would I be picked on the liberal team? No! Would I be left out? I think people realize I am very conservative, but I am probably not outspoken enough to be a first pick, which means I am also not as much a target or threat to the other team...so they would think. They may even think I can sympathize with them, which is true.

No, I am not definitely liberal, but I can see the liberal side of thinking. I can understand it, but that does not mean that I can tolerate it well all the time, especially when liberal interpretation is applied to scripture. I once had this long and rather lively discussion on a local message board when one liberal Christian wrote "love is God." In the scriptures, it is written, "God is love."




Now the liberal sees this in the simplest form: if God = love, then love = God, perhaps even God is all love so all love is God. Sounds truly heavenly (with angels singing) and simple. It even portrays a child-like innocence.

The conservative analyzes the complexities: "God is love" was originally written ὁ θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστίν, meaning God = the highest form of love, therefore love (in ALL its forms) ≠ God.

Which is true? Both sides can be debated. God first loved us with the highest form of love so all love first came from God. However, we live in a fallen world and sin tainted God's love, at least our perception of it. To sharply point out the problem with these differences, I will use a word that might make this post avoided by some search engines: sex = love. Now whether you are liberal or conservative or even in the murky middle, your mind immediately began working out that sex does not always mean love is involved and likewise not all forms of love involve sex, or at the very least should not. I believe that God designed ἔρως, the....hm, intimate form of love, to be reserved for marriage of a man and woman. I think most Christians can agree that is NOT the form of love that is referred to in "God is love," although some cult leaders have used it that way.

The divide in Christendom begins and ends with the interpretation of "love." (Actually, it goes even deeper to our understanding of God, but for now....) We all agree that we are suppose to love everyone so what do we do with that?

Jesus lived in a time when Israel was a conquered nation. Rome controlled it and there was inequality, corruption, and brutality. Jesus did not incite his followers to protest nor did He Himself even speak out against the Romans. He simply healed people and taught that God's Kingdom, the Highest Kingdom, was at hand. He change their hearts, their perspective, their love.

I agree that we live in the land as it is now and that we have rights in free countries to voice our opinions about inequality, corruption, brutality, and more, but Christians can quibble with each other about so many things that really are irrelevant to the Kingdom. I have done this myself, because I think things should change too, but in the end, this is God's world. I watch in amazement how some Christians are willing to try to destroy people in order to try to save the planet or something else thought to be just as noble—think about this! God warned us this world is going to end and the ending is going to be terribly horrible, like watching a dying child violently struggle for each one of his last painful breaths.

I just think we Christians can do better on that loving each other thing while we are still here on a fallen world because we are a part of the Highest Kingdom. How well are we going to fit into that loving, peaceful kingdom after we have been practicing anger and hate here for so long, I wonder.

My Lord, sometimes we get so caught up in the world that we fail to see You and the Kingdom. Help Your children love You and each other.

6 comments:

  1. This morning's scripture seemed particularly applicable.
    2 Timothy 2:4 ()Soldiers don't get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.() I seriously believe too much Christian focus is on the wrong thing, though those things in & of themselves may be good things. John Bevere makes a distinction between good or God ~ & it is a very important distinction. Something may be good ~ yet not of God. We need to be paying much, much better attention to how the Holy Spirit leads.

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    1. Good or God...Wow! That is really profound! I like that soooooo very much.

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    1. I understand the scripture, but I am not sure how you are meaning for it to be applied based on this post.

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  3. He has a book by the same title, Seeking. He is big on God's holiness & our holiness ~ a subject, as you know, dear to my heart. I like him. One of the best teachers on Tongues I've heard too.

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    1. Sounds very interesting! Unfortunately I still have stack of books on my nightstand. :(

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.