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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Politics versus Unity in Christ: Which One is Winning?

34 “A new command I give you: Love ONE ANOTHER. As I have loved you, so you must love ONE ANOTHER. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love ONE ANOTHER.” John 13:34-35

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be ONE, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be ONE as we are ONE— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete UNITY. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17: 20-23

"1 But I, brothers,[a] could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is JEALOUSY and STRIFE among you, are you not of the FLESH and behaving only in a HUMAN way? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely HUMAN?"

"5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are ONE, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building." 1 Cor 3: 1-9

"18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is WISE in this AGE, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the WISDOM of this WORLD is FOLLY with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 So let no one boast in MEN. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's." 1 Cor 3: 18-23.

"14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point YOU THINK DIFFERENTLY, that too GOD WILL MAKE CLEAR TO YOU. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained."

So why the scripture barrage on unity? Do you really need to ask? I am calling out to all of my Christian brothers and sisters (and myself) to take a quick soul check based on these verses. If facebook, private conversations, flurries of sarcastic jabs, etc. are any indication, Christians (many of whom I know and love dearly) are dividing publicly about President Trump and a whole host of political issues. And many of us, in the act of making divisive comments, are splintering the Body of Christ. All the while, the nonbelieving world says, "see how they disagree and don't love one another." And satan is laughing. 

So I have a few suggestions, for myself, and for my Christian friends and family:

#1: Stop it. Just stop. Stop the Facebook posts, stop obsessing over politics. Stop thinking you know better than all your other brothers and sisters. And honestly, stop acting like you know more than God. Do you think God's in heaven wringing his hands thinking, "Oh, no, Trump is president! Look at that horrifying policy he just signed into law. That's trouble, right there. What ever shall I do?" Do any of you really think you have a perfect godly perspective on everything that is happening? And, even in a worldly sense, do you really think you know what's going on at the highest levels of government? It's House of Cards on steroids mixed with trigonometry! And you think you've got it all figured out? Get real. Just stop. Go back and consider 1 Cor 3: 18-23. In delving so deeply and so obsessively into politics, are you trying to be Wise in this world? Maybe, it's time to pull out a bit and be a fool for God.

#2: Pray. Pray for our president. Pray for our government. Pray for senators and representatives. Pray for our nation. Since Trump has become president, how many times have you actually prayed for the man? How much time do you spend praying versus venting politics on Facebook, Twitter, etc?

#3: Consider Who's Watching: I recently saw a post highlighting every single thing that Trump has done wrong and not once mentioning anything his administration has done right. And the worst thing about this post is that it was a Christian addressing other Christians and basically lobbing guilt trip bombs, saying things like are you going to be the kind of Christian I need to explain to my kids? And why? Because we're not ALL screaming and yelling about the terrible things Trump is doing. That's like Paul objecting to factions forming to follow him and other factions following Apollos. Are there genuine Christians who are republicans? Of course there are. Are there genuine Christians who are democrats? Of course! So start acting like it. The world is watching. Our children are watching. And, since His vigilance never sleeps, God is watching. Will they, will HE see unity?

#4 Go private. If you absolutely need to discuss political issues with your fellow Christians, send private messages. Call people and do lunch (at an uncrowded restaurant) and talk it over. Run it through scripture and see if you can agree. If not, pray, submit to God and allow Him to make things clear between you.

#5 And finally, put love first. Sure, someone might be a hand or a foot or an eye or an arm, but we are ONE body. Sure, someone might be a republican or a democrat or libertarian or even undecided, but we are all ONE body. Spend less time plotting how to annihilate the political stance of another and much more time determining ways to love each other.