Monday, October 15, 2012

Sacred Cow BBQ II: Nation & Neighbors, Offend, Oppose, Owe

Lie:  God Will Either Heal Our Land or Judge It
"If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14). This was written to the land of Israel. Christians are God's people today and God has already forgiven Christians of all their sin. He hears all of our prayers. The first century Christians "sought God's face" like no generation before them but God didn't "heal the land" of Rome. We need to stop dreaming about behaving good enough to get God to give us a perfect nation and start loving neighbors. Nation blessing starts with neighbor blessing. Jesus didn't say, "Love your nation, Love your region, Love your city." He wisely said, "Love your neighbor." That is achievable.

Those who think or fear that God is going to judge a nation because of its sin just don't know the goodness of the good news of the gospel. 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 clearly says, because of what Jesus did "God no longer counts the world's sins against it." God doesn't view mankind based on sin anymore. He doesn't bless or curse people or nations for what they do. God stores up all wrath for judgment day (Romans 2:5). Some people self-righteously froth at the mouth waiting for God to judge nations and even attribute disasters to His wrath. That is pure hatred for your neighbors, hoping God judges a nation for its sins & claiming God punishes people with natural disasters. Promoting those falsehoods turn people away from even the idea of God because it paints Him as an intolerant murderer. Tolerant is a dirty word among Christians. Consider this, patient & tolerant are synonyms. "God is tolerant, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to changing their mind to trusting Him" (2 Peter 3:9). If God doesn't want anyone to perish why would He kill them while they aren't saved? Death is perishing, He doesn't want anyone to experience death.

Lie:  Christians Should Oppose Immoral Behavior in Society
Christian involvement in American politics mostly boils down to condemnation of the people who are not keeping the perceived rules of the bible. That is why Christians are hated so much, they judge others by their own knowledge of good & evil. Jesus didn't hunt people down and beat people up for their bad behavior. He didn't run down the street yelling, "Stop! Stop! You're breaking the rules!" He offered love and compassion and mercy for the people He encountered.

It is not the Christian's job to police the world or to convince the world. The Christian is to show love for all people & share the good news about Jesus Christ that God is knowable through trusting Him. If you doubt this then briefly consider the life of Jesus. He didn't try to force governments to bend to His will. He allowed people to walk away from Him when they rejected Him. Jesus wasn't motivated by fear of people's behavior or fear of their eternal destiny. He was motivated by love and compassion. Just as a couple's love produces a living child so Jesus knew that love is the only thing that produces eternal life. Shame, fear, manipulation, & especially rules do not produce eternal life.

Because we Americans live in a democratic republic we have the freedom to attempt to enact change. It is ok to do so but we must not forget that Jesus & the apostles didn't spend a second trying to change the Roman government. They had a more important kingdom on their minds.

Lie:  Christians Can Offend God by Their Actions
Offend means "to cause anger in." While there are times where God gets angry and severe in scripture nowhere does scripture say "God was offended" or that God's holiness was offended. Scripture never uses the word "offended" to describe God at all. It only says that we are the ones who get offended at Him! (See Matthew 13:57 & Mark 6:3). Jesus said, "Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me” (Matthew 11:6, Luke 7:23). God's holiness does not get offended but His compassion burns to protect those He loves like any good father's would.

In Isaiah 54:9-10 God spoke of our covenant of peace with Himself through the blood of Jesus that we are now a part of, He said, "I, the Lord, have sworn that I will never be angry (offended) with you and I will never rebuke you. For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My loving kindness (grace/favor) will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken," says the Lord who has compassion on you." Christian, God holds no sins against you, He has no anger toward you. God only has love, kindness, and peace for you. This is His promise written in the blood of His Son.

Lie:  You Owe God
Love doesn't require a return payment. Love gives without asking for anything back. You can never pay God back and you shouldn't try. God already has everything that we are. He is protecting the treasure that is you. We are encouraged to be grateful to God out of our freewill. God demands nothing from us but as our Father, He does want us to work with Him. If you never did anything for or with God He wouldn't love you any less. However the experience of your relationship with Him could always be much better. There is always more of His love, peace, & joy to explore so cooperate with God, join Him in loving others. God is love, He does not demand His own way but He still wants what is best for you. God doesn't burden you with responsibilities. He gives you the opportunity to respond.

No comments:

Post a Comment