Text: Psalm 46 | Listen to Message
Campaign Fatigue, Anyone?
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote in The Gulag Archipelago, “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.”
The major players in contemporary politics and “culture wars” often act as if Solzhenitsyn’s first “if only” statement is correct: one person/party/policy is all good and the other is all evil – and needs to die. There is a tremendous amount of polarizing hatred, conflict, and violence in society today as a result of this “we’re right, you’re wrong” mentality. Christians and churches have often been guilty of joining the fray rather than rising it above it with the timeless, bombproof hope of the Gospel.
If you’re exhausted and saddened by condition of our society today, don’t curse the darkness. Do what Paul exhorted Christians to do in Philippians 2:15-16: “Shine as lights in the world, holding to fast to the word of life.”
Using Micah 6:8 as an outline, here are 4 simple ways to do that:
- Choose faith over fear.
The Lord says in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” Be still literally means, relax. Go limp. Rest. Rest in who God is and what God is up to.
Even in the best of times, you have no business tying your identity and sense of security to the things of this world – things that are inherently vulnerable and temporary. God deserves the fundamental allegiance of your heart. Hope in HIM. No one and nothing can jeopardize His plan to be exalted in all the earth!
- Choose social justice over self-advantage.
“Lady Justice” is often portrayed with a blindfold because justice is objective and impartial. So if Christians are to “do justice,” we must be the first to stand against abuses of power that treat the wealthy/famous/influential one way and the poor/powerless another. We must stop thinking in selfish terms of, “What’s best for me?” and learn to think in terms of what is right and just for society.
- Choose lovingkindness over lectures.
God never tells us to love being dogmatically right all the time. He tells us to “love mercy.” Christians should be the last to insult or lecture and the first to love. It’s really okay to show unconditional kindness toward those who disagree with you. It’s really okay to sit down with sinners and ask them to help you understand where they’re coming from, why they bear so much hurt, and how you can have compassion in spite of your differences of conviction. You can even love your enemies, and learn to respect them as God’s fellow image bearers.
- Choose humility over hypocrisy.
At the heart of what God requires of us, He says, “Walk humbly with me.” But there’s no such thing as a humble hypocrite. If you have 20/20 vision when it comes to the faults of others, yet remain curiously blind to your own faults, pride has pulled the wool over your eyes. If you apply one set of standards to yourself and your people and party, but use a more stringent standard by which you critique others, that’s pride. But what if we could learn to examine ourselves first? What if we could strive to live with civility and integrity?
The heart of the nation will not be turned by Christians beating the drums of tradition, blame, and fear. Nor can we prove our “relevance” by simply reinterpreting the Word of God to mean whatever culture wants it to mean. We must choose a third way forward – a way that offers practical, street-level proof that the Gospel is our real and life-transforming hope.