FOR OR AGAINST?


I ran across this quote on the Sojourners website (http://blog.sojo.net/) and it reminded me of how futile and anti-Kingdom it is to try to effect change in the world through politics and human effort. Yet, every day I’m deluged with emails, Facebook messages, blog comments and personal conversations, attempting to enlist my efforts in fighting any number of evils in the world: homosexuality, liberalism and Democrat politics, the encroachment of Islam, illegal immigrants, abortion, high taxes, limits on the right to bear arms, and on and on and on …

These misguided appeals are primarily foisted upon me by Christians – people I know. All the while, there are more than two billion people in the world who have never heard the name of Jesus, or met anyone who truly and honestly represents Him. Who will go to them? Who will sacrifice comfort for them? Who will give their lives for them?


Who will be the face of Jesus to the lost?


American Christians seem to be highly engaged when it comes to fighting evil in the world, through petitions, protesting, email blasts, fear-mongering, and right-wing, conservative politics. They are quick to demonize the left, and just as quick to defend conservative politicians, even when they’re caught with their pants down. But are any politicians trustworthy?

Our weapons are not carnal, but mighty through God. Our fight is not in the flesh – evil is overcome with good. And that goodness has to come through us. The love of Jesus must flow through us in order for the world to see and taste how good He is.

The passion that’s expended in these earthly struggles steals time, money, strength, and the hearts and souls of those caught up in them. If you believe there’s a devil, then you have to see that he’s using this powerful distraction to divert the Body of Christ from what we are called to do – love God and take His love to our neighbors all over the earth – and he’s trying to lead Christians down a path that seems right, but is futile and evil in itself.

When were we ever called to judge the world’s evil, then try to wipe it out? That’s not our calling as followers of Jesus Christ. Rather, we’ve been given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18).

So I ran across this quote, and it spoke to me. Hopefully it will also speak to you:



“To work in the world lovingly means that we are defining what we will be for, rather than reacting to what we are against.”

– Christina Baldwin



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Posted on October 18, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. good quote – thanks for sharing it. I am “for” thanking my creator each day that I can be cut to the heart by His love “for” the world. too much suffering going down – too many people going to bed hungry – children abused – innocence lost – war – hate. what are we supposed to stand “for”? his love never fails.

  2. JP,

    I have a couple of questions regarding your comment about ‘biased politics’.

    Please don’t think that I am trying to start an argument or be offensive, because I am not. I may have just fried too many brain cells in the past to understand all of this, so I apologize ahead of time for my ignorance.

    If Christians are called to “love your enemy” then why do the majority of conservative Christians support wars supported by a secular government?

    If Christians are called to “feed the poor”, “care for the orphans and widows”, “walk two miles with someone that asks you to walk one mile with them”, “turn your other cheek”, “visit prisoners in prison” and “give them your shirt when they ask for your coat,” then why do they ridicule and berate the non-conservative public that support a “social agenda”?

    If we are called to Pray for our leaders, why then do many conservative Christians find it fully acceptable to criticize and condemn them (if they are liberal, and then condemn the liberals if they condemn a conservative elected official)?

    If Islam is “the enemy” then we are called to LOVE THEM, PRAY FOR THEM and FEED THEM. Correct?
    Then where is the OUTRAGE from the Christians and the so-called Christian Nation that the people that we LOVE are being bombed, slaughtered and murdered?

    I read the same book you do brother and I don’t see a conservative (or liberal) agenda nor do I see anything pointing us to an alliance with any government, party or group.

    A Pastor friend of mine told me a long time ago that when I accepted Christ as my savior I did one peculiar thing: “I gave up ALL of my rights lest one, the right to be a son of God”.

    Seriously JP, I don’t think that you have any idea how many people are repelled by the evangelicals’ alliance with the ultra-conservative political machine. I have no political stance. A man cannot serve two Masters, we cannot serve some kind of patriotism, conservatism, republicanism or tea-party’ism.

    Politics, Presidents, Congressmen nor Senators have any authority in the Kingdom of God. If I am a citizen of that Kingdom, then I can only serve One King and One King alone. Right?

    Then, I must care for Orphans and Widows.

    Love my enemies, pray for them and Feed them etc…

    Sorry bro, I don’t want to get carried away and start getting offensive.

    But… I find little in the conservative Christian political agenda that reflects Jesus Christ.

    Love and Peace

    MT

  3. To “He Came for All”:

    What you fail to understand is that I am not being biased; I didn’t say anything negative about anybody. I’m merely pointing out the bias of the emails sent to me, trying to enlist my aid in their efforts. I make every attempt to not be political, and don’t want my IN Box filled with such stuff. Rest assured, however, that if I receive biased emails from liberals, I’ll be sure to point them out. Thanks for commenting, Joe. You know I appreciate and love you.

  4. A RESPONSE TO WIL:

    34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
    37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
    40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
    41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
    44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
    45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
    46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
    _____________________________________________________

    21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

  5. "He Came for All"

    Totally agree with you Dennis,
    I love these Quotes:
    Who will be the face of Jesus to the lost?

    (2 Cor. 5:18)
    All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation

    Only thing that really stands out is the Bias politics from you and your fellow bloggers, but hey its your blog .
    always fun to see the repercussions of my comments ….
    even criticised on a ” christian term “Please… ( Zelda)
    But at the heart of your message is reaching the lost which is what our goal is, mine too !
    God Bless you, in Jesus name
    J P

  6. well said… DO something to advance the kingdom instead of spinning our wheels and screaming at the top of our lungs.

  7. Wil, I don’t really get how the scripture you posted corresponds with the posted conversations. Can you explain? Thanks.

  8. FOR …

    “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

  9. Newmission, I really liked your response. Excellent and thought provoking.

  10. I really liked this quote Dennis. It is excellent and on target, even if one is from a more secular perspective. It really made me think of my own responses to injustice. As a liberal and sometime activist, I am prone to responding against the injustices in our society as I see them and promoting conscious activism in various forms. However, this beautiful quote reminds me that there is a much more positive way to do so. Positive always trumps negative and is a gentler and kinder way to effect change.

    From the Christian perspective, I think it is a perfect quote. I have been sad to see the politicization of Jesus Christ. A real turn-off and detriment to the work that Christians believe they are called to. I can say that having seen it from both sides.

    Thank you for sharing that wonderful quote.

  11. Dennis,

    Daily I also get flooded with political e-mails espousing a less-than-Christian attitude from Christians or people who profess themselves to be Christians.

    I find it ironic that one friend in particular is currently stockpiling ammunition and firearms for the ‘future battle’. Now I know that this is not the norm, but it must be known that this guy is a local business owner who firmly believes that the day is coming when America will be overtaken by either socialists who will enforce some type of ‘martial law’ or by ‘radical Islam’. This person professes to be Christian and believes that he will be protecting the ‘Christian Nation’.

    This idea that something other than a person can be ‘Christian’ has baffled me for years. I remember dissenting with a friend when he was telling me that I had to listen to ‘Christian’ music. I remember simply asking him to explain to me “what is ‘Christian music’?” Did the ‘music’ confess its sins and put its trust in Jesus to become ‘Christian’?

    It comes down to the simple fact that most Christians, especially the current ideal of the conservative evangelical movement thinks that they can legislate morality (which in their minds will please God). This all started in the mid-1950s when Billy Graham cultivated a relationship with the then President Dwight D. Eisenhower to fight the evil Communism of the Soviet Union. This continued on with many presidents of the United States and the idea was birthed that religion in government could change the nation. The only problem with this whole concept is that there must be an enemy of the state. We have gone from communism to Islam as the enemy. From the Russians, Germans and Vietnamese to the Iraqis and Afghans.

    This is not God’s plan and has never been His plan. How in God’s Name can anyone who has even limited knowledge of our nation’s war history claim that this nation has acted as Christ Himself would act. We are called to Love our neighbor and furthermore to Love our ENEMY. Millions have been slaughtered and enslaved under the IDEAL of the so-called Christian Nation. Where is the Christ in that ?

    All of the e-mails that I get have the same theme: IT’S TIME WE STAND UP.
    Yes I agree, its time that we stand up. But it’s time that the people who know the message of Jesus, stand against this ‘pseudo-Christian political machine’ that has hijacked the Church and its congregants.

    Instead of condemning Abortion – adopt an orphan
    Instead of fearing Muslims – invite one to dinner in your home
    Instead of complaining about crime – visit a prison

    It’s all about keeping things the way they are.
    Pastors need to keep the 90K salary and the stipend for their car and home.
    Congregants don’t want things to change; they like the cushy seats in the church and the strato-lounger in front of their 62” flat screen.
    They cry out for miracles and signs to substantiate their faith instead of finding their faith in losing their lives in service to those in need.

    If you research the early evangelical movement from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s you will find that social justice was a constant topic in most churches and small groups. Christians were funding and running the ‘poor houses’. They could be found in prisons and jails ensuring that prisoners were not being ‘mistreated’ by the government agencies. They actually helped their neighbors, welcomed the immigrants and STOOD FAST AGAINST WAR.

    What a change we are seeing today. No longer do they ‘take up the cause of the poor’. They create more poor by supporting wars that cause innocents to die without the Gospel and cause trillions of dollars of debt to our own.

    God forgive me for ever espousing any of these ideals and keep me from the evil that perpetrates this lie.

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