Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stand for Compassion, Part 2

In writing today's blog I'm writing to myself as much as to anyone else. I recently took a friend's word for granted and posted something on Facebook related to John Stossell leaving ABC that contained both truth and error because I got caught up in the heat of the moment, trusted a friend, and didn't do due diligence. Something in our nature causes us to see opponents as enemies--bad guys (and of course, we're always the good guys, at least in our eyes). In reality we should not see every opponent as an enemy. Sometimes an opponent is simply someone who differs from us in some point of belief or practice. But they enemy or opponent, we, as Christians, should treat them with the same compassion. Somehow we forget that in the heat of political debates. Right now there is a major political debate in the United States over whether we will remain a free republic that values and honors the rights of the people and the states or become a socialist state where everything is made subservient to a centralized government. To be sure, such a transformation would not be done all at once. How could it? But the general direction of our federal government has been in this direction since the administration of Franklin Roosevelt.

My purpose here is not to debate the political developments themselves but to look at how Christians should demonstrate compassion toward their political opponents in this kind of cultural environment. The political left stands against virtually everything that most Evangelicals believe is both biblical and right. They stand against traditional marriage. They stand against the rights of parents to discipline their children and raise them as they see fit. They stand against life, preferring the culture of death with their support of euthanasia and abortion. They stand against smaller, limited government and individual freedom. They stand against the full and free public exercise of religion, at least traditional Christianity. How ought Christians respond to this?

Jesus commanded us to love our enemies, as was noted in yesterday's blog. Paul, in 1 Timothy 2: 2 enjoined the believers of his day to pray for the king. Who was the king? He was a Roman emperor and a pagan. He was an enemy of the faith. Christians need to engage their human enemies first by praying for them, realizing that those who oppose the faith are under the control of the true Enemy from whom they need to be set free. Pray first that God will open their eyes to the truth. Pray that God's will for the nation will prevail over the evil intentions of sinful men. Then, with genuine and unselfish love engage them in informed and meaningful debate on the issues of the day, but always do so with respect. Never engage them in a vindictive spirit. Above all remember that they are fallen human beings in need of God's mercy and grace every bit as much as you are. Only God's grace separates you from them. Pray that God's grace will bring them to where you are. Pray for their conversion and for God to open their eyes. In so doing you will take a stand for genuine Christian compassion.

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