Saturday, September 12, 2009

Parallel But Not Synonymous. . .

I was waiting somewhere yesterday, on 9/11, watching an American flag as it furled at half mast for Patriot's Day (I'm sorry -- I refuse to call it anything else that demeans the loss of life and sacrifice of those who died that day and since then.)

Of course, I couldn't resist the temptation to take out my camera and snap some pictures and video of the flag and as I did so the thought came to me of how much I love the flag. I love how it looks, I love the colors, but most of all I love what it represents. I love our country.

I LOVE our country.

When our family visited Washington, DC several years ago, I loved seeing all the monuments, the Constitution (that was in fact the one thing I felt I had to see, because it was the thing my son had pledged his life to defend.) I loved seeing the tokens and relics of our past and the backbone of our heritage and history. Of all our vacations, it has been my favorite.

I can't hear the National Anthem being played without having my eyes fill with tears. I think of my son's service to our country, and of all those throughout our country's history who have contributed to those red stripes and my tears flow in gratitude and thanksgiving. I always want to sing aloud the National Anthem and I am sorry it has become an opportunity for soloists to sing instead of for proud

several small American flagsImage via Citizens

citizens to do so.

As much as I love my country, I love my Lord and God infinitely more, and I realize the two are not synonymous. That may seem like a pretty obvious statement, but if a Christian holds the Bible to truly be the word of God and the authority for their life and they also hold conservative political views, the lines between the two can sometimes seem blurry.

We may find ourselves passionate about political views because underneath that view is also a spiritual truth we are more passionate about. We may find that a political turn of events disturbs us because it is in direct conflict with what we know to be true from the Bible. Because we find the two lines in our lives becoming blurry, we often become political activists -- and even find ourselves hand in hand with people who share diametrically opposed spiritual views, but share political ones with us -- because we are fighting the political warfare of the day. Some may just find politics in and of itself fascinating and interesting and enjoy the plug and tug that the different parties cause as they jockey for power and control.

This is the question I must ask myself: Do I feel passionate about a political issue because the Lord commands me to be or just because I am politically passionate about it? Some would adamantly declare that Christians have a responsibility to be politically active in certain issues, and in some ways this seems logical. Let's look to the Lord Jesus and the Apostles as examples in this.

When the Lord Jesus walked this earth, and when the Apostles lived, the Roman empire was one

Gold CoinsImage by motoyen via Flickr

of the most despicable regimes imaginable. In those days it was even legal --legal mind you -- for a father to murder his young child if he found it to be convenient for him. But what did the Lord tell us about the Roman government? "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. "(Matthew 22:21). Basically, the things that belong to the world, give that to the world, for example, pay your taxes. The things that belong to God, give to Him, your heart, mind and soul.

What did the Apostle Paul say about this government? "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." (I Timothy 2:1,2) Pray for them and thank the Lord for them! And Paul also said this, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. "(Romans 13:1)

No where in the New Testament do we find a call for revolt, a call for political upheaval. The silence of the Apostles and of the Lord Himself regarding political affairs is deafening.We as Christians should concentrate on "what is God's" and on our hearts revolving in the right attitude toward the Lord and our fellow man, or as the Lord Jesus said it:

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Matthew 22: 37-39

If we follow these, then we will be exactly where the Lord wants us regardless of the political climate of the nation, and we will be responding correctly to those around us regardless of their political views as well. Yes, He may call some to be politically active, but it will be with a heart of tenderness and love toward our fellow man, whether he agrees or disagrees with us politically, because we are not allowing the lines between our political views and our spiritual beliefs to blur. Our political view should never lead us to an attitude of harshness, hatred or meanness toward any, regardless of their political viewpoint. Our relationship with the Lord should be that which is the primary guiding of our actions and our attitudes. If it is not, we have allowed the lines to blur, we have crossed over from one line to the other, we have made one thing supreme which is not.

We don't have to be ignorant of the world and the politics which run its nations, but let us choose to rest our heart in Him who holds the universe together by the power of His word, because,

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them:
because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world."
I John 4:4

"And all this assembly shall know that the LORD
saveth not with sword and spear:

for the battle is the LORD'S, and He will give you into our hands."
(1 Samuel 17:47)

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