A few days ago, I responded to a friend’s meme on Facebook which attacked a politician from the “other” party. I have learned that it’s pretty much impossible to change someone’s political leanings. And I wasn’t trying to. But I felt this meme referred to something that happened years ago and took it 95% out of context to show what an evil person this guy was.
Hey, I don’t mind if someone disagrees with a politician’s policies. I certainly do. But to purposefully misrepresent something is using a lie to attack them. I do have a problem with that.
Let there be honest disagreements on the issues. Let there be honest discussions where both sides actually listen to each other. I know, that’s easier said than done. But when you use outright lies or take things wildly out of context to denigrate someone you disagree with, you are only defaming your own integrity.
When you tell lies about someone, you’re actually using one the devil’s favorite and most often used tools. If you think that works to your advantage, go ahead. But I don’t recommend it. Consider yourself forewarned.
When I posted my objection to the meme’s misleading tactics, another friend jumped into the Facebook repartee defending the meme and agreeing how terrible this particular politician was.
Now if you’re a Republican, you will assume it was a Democrat bashing a Republican. If you’re a Democrat, you will assume it was a Republican trying to smear a Democrat.
Isn’t it just amazing that we can see when someone else plays dirty but we justify it when we do exactly the same thing?
The conversation could have escalated very quickly. But that’s not where I wanted to go. My friends are genuinely concerned for the welfare of the country. And I knew that’s where they were coming from. After a couple of responses back and forth, I simply asked the question you see in the screen shot above,
What do you think is going to heal the great problems our country faces today? That’s what I’m interested in.”
You can see the response I got: “Jesus, only Jesus.”
Is Jesus enough to heal our country?
Most Christians would immediately answer yes. And so did I. At first.
But the more I’ve thought about it, it seems clear to me that Jesus is not enough to heal this country, or any problem large or small.
Gasp! Don’t you believe in Jesus?
Yes, I do. But here’s my point. Just believing in Jesus is not enough, however much people claim it is. Just believing in Jesus does not necessarily include living your life the way you should.
If you want to define “believe” as a faith that goes down deep into your heart and completely transforms the way you think and act in regard to your fellow man, even including those pesky politicians whom you disagree with, then I’ll agree with you.
But if you say you believe in Jesus but you don’t live your life the way he wants you to, then I will have to say that version of Jesus is not enough to solve any problem, big or small.
Jesus was very firm on this point. He said,
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”Matthew 7:21 ESV
“Does the will of my Father.” Let that sink in a bit. Just calling Jesus your Lord does not mean you will find yourself in heaven. Words are not enough.
There is also that famous parable of the sheep and the goats, those who lived their lives according to God’s will taking care of the less fortunate, and those who believed in Jesus but did not live their faith by helping others. (See Matthew 25:31-45)
We all like to think of ourselves as sheep. But how will Jesus see us?
Just believing in Jesus to save the day is not enough. We have to put our faith into practice.
What about Paul’s comments to the Keeper of the Prison in Philippi: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”? (Acts 16:31 ESV) He doesn’t say you have to do anything.
And Jesus himself said to many people, “Your faith has made you whole.” It sounds like faith in Jesus is enough to heal and save us.
But let’s take a closer look at those healings. When a woman reached from the crowd to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe (see Matthew 9:20-22) she was healed. Jesus said, “Take heart daughter, your faith has made you well.” But it was not just a faith that left her on her bed back at home. It was a faith that propelled her to take action, to seek him out.
The same goes for the fellow whose friends carried him on a cot and let him down through the roof of the house where Jesus was. Jesus saw their faith. It was not a passive faith that simply said, “I believe Jesus can heal me.” It was a deep conviction to do whatever it took to get to Jesus and ask for healing.
Faith is not simply saying you believe in Jesus. It means you will follow him and obey his commandments. Faith requires action or it is not worth much. James goes as far as to say, “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:20)
An active, living faith that impels you to do God’s will is the only faith that will help heal our problems, individually and collectively.
Jesus and politics
I have Christian friends on both sides of the political spectrum. Each camp thinks it is right and closest to what Jesus would want. And each side is convinced the other side is doing the work of the devil.
It isn’t enough to claim you are a Christian. You must live your faith. I have rarely seen such hatred come from any other source as I have from people who call themselves followers of Jesus and then spew out venom toward others, even fellow Christians, they disagree with politically or theologically.
These things ought not to be.
Jesus said we should love our enemies. He did not say we should lambast them, point out every tiny sin, or tell lies about them.
Jesus said we should bless those who curse us. What would happen in our country if all the politicians and politically opinionated people on both sides, who say the believe in Jesus, would actually do this?
I don’t mean in a video and post it to Facebook or YouTube. I mean in the closet of prayer, in the privacy of your own heart.
I invite you to think of someone who is on the exact opposite of the political spectrum from you and take time to love and bless them the way Jesus would want you to, with no strings attached, no ulterior motives.
Just love and bless them.
I don’t care how right you think you are or how wrong you think they are in the sight of God on a particular issue. That doesn’t matter for this prayer. Jesus’ command is unconditional.
Please take at least a minute right now–and more minutes if possible, and more than once–to bless your political opposites.
And by the way, when Jesus said to pray for those who oppose us, I don’t think he meant to pray or work against them. I’ve heard of famous preachers in the past who prayed for politicians they disagree with to die. That is the absolute opposite of what Jesus is talking about.
If you are reading this and concerned about the political situation in your country, please, please, please, pray for those you disagree with. Do not curse them or tell lies about them. Bless them. Love them.
This doesn’t mean you agree with their ideas, but you treat them with love, the love of Jesus, which you say is in your heart.
Jesus in not here on earth today as a flesh and blood person to do what he did 2,000 years ago. He expected and empowered his followers, through the Holy Spirit, to continue and increase his work.
Will you love and bless your political foes? Will you listen to them and try to understand their position instead of believing and and sharing snarky memes based on lies, or worse?
Will you actually treat others the way Jesus wants you to? What’s it called? Oh yeah, the Golden Rule.
If all those who call themselves Christians will love and bless their enemies, yes, even the political ones, the way Jesus wants us to, it will revolutionize the country.
Jesus is enough…
…if you are actually following him.
Salvation does not come from Republican or Democrat policies. Nor can those policies prevent the salvation of Christ breaking forth upon us and our country.
You say you believe in Jesus. Put all your faith in him and his message of Truth and Love. Let it be an active faith of praising God and ministering to those in need.
Jesus didn’t come to give political deliverance to the faithful. Rome was still in charge politically when he left the earth. He came to bring something much better.
Is Jesus enough? Yes, if we are truly following him in our thoughts and words, our prayers and deeds, but not otherwise.
What path will we follow?
If you’ve had an experience when you loved your political foes, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
Blessings to all, and I mean all,
P.S. Please feel free to share this with someone who needs to hear this message. Thanks so much.