You don’t have to be too involved in our world right now to know that things, politically, are a mess. Now part of it is stimulated by the run up to a contentious election. But I am not talking about one parties’ perspective but the atmosphere of near hatred between the opposing positions. I guess the question that I would ask the follower of Jesus, regardless of your political position, is, “How do we model Jesus in the midst of all the rancor?”
What we are experiencing culturally is the accelerating decline of a culture that has drifted from God. Yes, what we are experiencing is a culture war. Now, like most people, I have been a part of many conversations related to issues brewing over the last couple years. I would agree with the voices shouting that things seem to be getting worse rather than better. Now, before we go any further, let me say that I hold opinions on most of the different issues that our nation is facing. What makes these issues so challenging for the follower of Christ is that many of the proposed solutions conflict with the Biblical values set forth in God’s Word. It truly is a cultural battle between light and darkness. So the question I would ask, is what would Jesus do in our situation? And here we are blessed to have his personal examples as a guide for our times.
Let me highlight a few insights from one of Jesus’ responses to the cultural wars that ranged during his earthly ministry. First, Jesus rose above the political banter keeping the focus on the gospel. Jesus experienced a mob the night when he was arrested. Jesus responded to the mob and more specifically his followers, one of whom tried to use force, “Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:52–53) Jesus knew something that we often forget, God is in control. And God is always at work, even when we cannot see it. Paul reminds us of God’s sovereignty in Romans that politicians serve only because God allows it. Now the obvious insight is that we are not those that need to take physical action. Second, Jesus reminds us that the Father is in control and we can trust Him. Paul reminds us that we command more powerful weapons than those available in the physical world. Our weapons such as prayer and a godly life are effective at changing those around us. We are reminded that even suffering will be used by God. Perter reminded the persecuted followers of Christ, “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” (1 Peter 3:15–16)
So how do we model Jesus in a self-destructing culture that is running from God? We live godly lives! We need to participate in government and vote. But more importantly we need to live, act and talk in such a way that the gospel message shines through us even when we are attacked. “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:17)
-Pastor Joe Parkinson