Pastor's Note - February 10
Last week I talked about the concept of viewing the world, and other people (especially fellow believers), through the lens of the gospel. The cross of Christ should shape how we see and assess everything. Very often in our culture, however, we assess everything through a political-cultural grid. Our culture tends to place everything in categories of “left” and “right.” To the extent that this is true (and I might be wrong!), this presents a problem for us as we try to live Christianly. For example, if I say something along the lines of “we ought to be against any form of racist animosity or superiority,” many will immediately in their minds think of that as a “left-leaning” statement or sentiment. But as Christians we (should) know that racism is a form of the sin of partiality and violates the imago dei and the unity the gospel will create among believers. So to be against racism is explicitly Christian and biblical. Now, we may from there have a discussion as to what that means practically. But at the core we should affirm that opposing racism is Christian and biblical, before it is a political-cultural consideration. We do this with all sorts of issues. We tend to associate a biblical definition of marriage and sexuality with the “right,” and we could go on. The problem with thinking in these categories of left and right is that we first place things in political-cultural categories, and then if a particular issue doesn’t line up with our preferred political-cultural group, we instinctively oppose it. In doing so, we risk dismissing or rejecting something because it sounds “left” or “right,” when we should be embracing it because it is biblical. My concern is that we may end up rejecting the teaching of Jesus and the heart of God on many topics, because we fear being associated with a cultural demographic – when we should primarily be concerned with being associated with Jesus. I also have a concern that we may use these categories to dismiss other Christians by unfairly, uncharitably, and unchristianly labeling them. For example, we may hear one thing we disagree with from a church or Christian or pastor, then label them as “left” or “right,” and then assume that they always come from a left or right standpoint. And we risk rejecting them altogether because of an uncharitable label. We say to ourselves, “oh he’s going right” or “he’s going left,” because of one disagreement, unfairly painting them in that cultural-political brush. It may be the other person isn’t coming from a left or right standpoint at all, but is simply trying to follow Jesus, and has come to a different conclusion than we have. It may be that we categorize people as leaning left or leaning right only because we are too consumed with political-cultural labels. It might be that we have forgotten to look through things with biblical lenses, and we only know how to categorize people and ideas as left or right. We make political categories far too important in our thinking—then are divided by them. And if that’s the case, we’ve lost something of our Christianity, and our loving Christian charity. What do you think? Are you seeing what I’m seeing? Or am I way off? I’d love to hear if anyone sees the same thing. I’m praying the Lord gives us the ability to see one another not according to the flesh, or through the tainted lenses of this sinful world, but according to Christ.