Saturday, September 8, 2012

Toward UNITY

Aren’t we glad the conventions are over?  I know I am! I’ve been silent due to a really horrendous cold (or allergies?)  which may have been caused by staying up too late to watch all the hullabaloo and post speeches commentary by all the newsies.

There is definitively a stark contrast and a choice that we, as Americans, are privileged to make in November! And I hope you will take the time and effort needed to let your voice be heard.  One of the greatest travesties in our 21st century America is that only about half of us that are able to vote, actually do. With the changes in some states’ voting laws, please be sure that you are properly registered with the proper credentials.  I am not going to go into the controversy surrounding the changes – my message on this is to BE PREPARED-GET REGISTERED-VOTE!!!

One of the things I’ve noticed is the increased proliferation of “picto-memes” on Facebook.  You know, those created signs, graphs and political statements posted to let us know what’s on their mind.  Much to my embarrassment, even as I desire to be a source of information rather than division, I’ve gotten caught up in a bit of discussion.  Thankfully, I nipped it in the bud before it became a battle of “your guy vs. my guy” and trying to prove the truth or fiction of it.

In my opinion, one of the reasons there’s so much division is because we all want to win; we all want to be right… our way really is the BEST! …and then, in the midst of the heatedness, I’m blessed to remember many of Jesus’ words that bring me back to what’s truly important-especially in the Christian community of believers I belong to and more importantly the Church as a whole.  As Christians our “first love” is to be our God and Lord.  Confession time: I get carried away as I support my candidate! I want him to win.  I believe in his values, his hope and vision for our country…and I bet that you feel the same way about your candidate too.  And it may be that our candidates are not the same!

The last few weeks, I’ve had to re-think my words and comments a number of times…and again, heard stories of anger and dissension because of political discussion.  Family members resort to name calling, friends removing friends from everywhere.  Saddest for me are folks leaving my church family because of the opposing views of others.  Being me, I sought out what Scripture says on how we, as Christians are to conduct ourselves, especially in these highly charged emotional times.  I hope you’ll take a little time to reflect on these things.

  • ·         Mark 9:35  Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.
    In other words, it’s not REALLY that important to win, be the best, or be right.

  • ·         Luke 20:25 “He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
    I suggest you read the whole passage in context.  But I like the statement as a reminder of what’s truly important.

  • ·         Matthew 5:9   Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (And check out James 3:18 for back up)
    We are all called to be peacemakers… and again, read the entire Sermon on the Mount-it’s a reminder of our need for perspective.

Paul wrote quite a bit also, and for a biblical view on all things government, check out Romans 13:1-10 and remember that we, as Christians are called to LOVE.
Submission to Governing Authorities
1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Love Fulfills the Law
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”  and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Lastly, consider Paul’s warning in Romans 16:17 - 17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.

From the very beginning, our shared spiritual enemy has used lies, and division to keep us from our greater purpose which is to love God and our neighbor. Those are the commands, and true values we should seek in electing our leaders as well. These, to my way of thinking and believing are our HIGHEST CALLING.      

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