Recently a friend asked me, in the context of my last post on my melancholy blues, what my expectations are from Christians, especially those who think that health care reform and other current items of interest are "morally and ethically wrong." Some of this will be rehash, but let me give it my best shot.
1. Humility. Every one of us has issues that we are on the wrong side about. That means me, that means you. Arrogant close-mindedness is not the same thing as conviction. And when an issue has many godly people on both sides of the argument, it demands even more humility than normal if that's possible. And even if you are right, a gentle humility is still required. See Galatians 6.1.
2. Honesty. In this category falls all the caricaturizing, demonizing and scandalizing of our ideological opponents. It would also include exaggerating for effect. Both liberal and conservative news outlets are guilty of this. If you're interested I'll create a list. See Matthew 5.21-22 on angry name-calling. As I said in my Caricature Debate post a few weeks back, argue the facts, but don't resort to shouting epithets, exaggerations, or outright lies. Don't trust a news source just because they are [fill in the blank here: Christian, conservative, progressive, liberal, etc].
3. Stop equating the US with "God's Covenant Nation" status, stop identifying Western democracy as the biblical form of government, and stop believing laissez-faire capitalism is a godly economic system. I could write a book on this, but I'll try not to. My friend said in her resopnse the world hates "Jesus Christ and His children and that's not going to change." There is much truth in that. The gospel is a stumbling block to many. The humility required to receive God's forgiveness is challenging. If we are hated or persecuted for the sake of Jesus we should count ourselves worthy (Matthew 5.11-12).
But suffering because of conservative politics is not suffering for the gospel. Being hated by "liberals" because you're a "conservative" is not suffering for Jesus.
4. Be passionate both about individual morality and systemic morality, and don't be hypocritical about either. I have not yet had the chance to research this, but recently read that the most common command in the Scriptures is "Don't be afraid" and the second most common is to be kind to aliens and strangers among you. My friend said this:
There should be a balance of speaking out equally what we are for and what we are against. God tells us through His Word what He is for and what He is against and we should be a reflection of that as a whole, not in part either way.
I could not agree more. I do not believe that God anywhere in the Scriptures states being for small government, capitalism, or whatever side we are on in a war. He does say he is opposed to immorality, especially among believers. He does say that he opposes systems that oppress the poor and marginalized who have no voice of their own. He does say that those who claim the name of Jesus should be marked by their love for one another. Again, there's a lot more to be said here.
5. Be peacemakers. As far as it is possible, be at peace with those around you. Pursue peace passionately. See 1 Peter 3.11, Matthew 5.9, James 3.18, 1 Timothy 2.2, Hebrews 12.14.
To summarize, the Lord requires of us to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God (Micah 6.8)