Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Living as if People Mattered

Last week a person said to me “I’m pro-life but I don’t know how to defend my position from the Bible.” If she feels that way, I wondered how many others feel the same. I decided to do a sermon on the major issues of the election allowing scripture to speak on the issues. I decided to interview fellow Christians about what they feel are the important issues of the election. One of the things I found in my very limited survey was disgust with the whole system. Some were very pessimistic; the politicians are on the take, both parties are guilty of taking excessive money from lobbyists and special interests. The politicians are not concerned about the common man. I agree.

Is not Washington, D.C. a reflection of our culture? Charles Colson, in his book “Who Speaks for God?” says, “Yet politicians of both parties continue to promise—and to electorate continues to expect—political solutions to all our ills. We go through the same cycle every election year. Why?” Jacques Ellul, the eminent French historian, answered the question in his book “The Political Illusion.” Ellul theorized that modern man increasingly turns to the state for answers to his problems—even though the state cannot solve them. Politicians perpetuate the myth that it can since the illusion perpetuates their power; the media willingly collaborates since their coverage of government fuels their own power—and profits—as well.”

“The result, Ellul wrote, is a ‘boundless growth’ of the state, with an insatiable appetite for power. We Christians, of all people should see through the political illusion. We should understand that the real problems of our society are, at their root, moral and spiritual. Institutions and politicians are limited in what they can do.”

“Certainly that is so in the criminal justice field. Crime is the result of wrong moral choices. Laws are needed to restrain evil, but penal institutions can’t deal with the ultimate problem: the human heart. That’s why the gospel of Christ is the only real answer.”

If Ellul is correct, and I believe he is, who is responsible to take the gospel message to our nation? We are—the church—we the church, believers, disciples—we have not done our job. We hide out as our country goes to hell. We are quick to point the finger at Washington, D.C., when in reality we are the problem.

Listen to the words of Isaiah…"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves (my comment: God wants our heart not our money) in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” (Isaiah 58:6-12)

We talk a lot and very seldom do anything about it. Jesus told us to go and make disciples. We pushed our responsibility off on the government and we sit and complain when we should have been doing the work. Remember we are to fear God and Honor the King (I Peter 2:13-17“Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.”)

If we fear God, we will obey. I ask “why have we sat and complained when we are, with God’s help, to go and make disciples?”

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