Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Being salt and light

**This turned out longer than I wanted, but is something that has been on my heart and mind for a while. Maybe no one will even read this epistle :)

Sometimes I'll run across a movie that isn't Christian, yet has Christian overtones or a Christian message. There is one such movie I watched about 10 years ago called The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising. I recently found it at the Salvation Army store for $1.50, and though I didn't remember much about it, I did remember I liked it..... so I bought it.

 The plot: Developing one's self confidence is difficult for most 14-year-olds, and doubly so for Will Stanton who's recently moved to England and has just begun his first year of study as an American overseas. Feeling shy and inadequate in school as well as amongst his five brothers and one sister, Will becomes increasingly confounded when he starts to see strange visions including a sinister horseman  who demands Will give him some sort of sign which he knows absolutely nothing about. Befriended by four elders of the local community who turn out to be "Old Ones" from ages past, Will learns that his destiny is as a seeker who must travel through time to collect six ancient signs that will somehow enable light to triumph over darkness and save the world as he knows it. As Will discovers that he possesses hidden powers and struggles to learn to control them in order to accomplish his quest, he is racked with insecurity and self-doubt. In the end, Will's inner strength will be tested to the extreme as will his relationship with both family and friends.

  Spoiler: Darkness is vanquished and the light triumphs. As I watched it, I was reminded of Jesus' command to be salt and light to the world. It is becoming increasingly difficult to do that, and we can be fought just as hard as the young man in the movie I recently watched.

 I was also convicted. Odd, how watching a secular movie can do things like that.

   I am avoiding politics and talk of the man who will be in the White House. Anyone who knows me very well knows my stance on all of that. However this whole election process, no matter who you voted for or didn't vote for, showed one glaring truth: we Christians are doing a lousy job of being salt and light.

   Our country is getting further and further from God, and instead of praying, humbling ourselves, and seeking God's face and His will for our country, we bickered and fought, putting our hopes in man instead of in God. Any true Christian should shudder at the thought of what the world saw in us this election season..... and maybe in other elections also.

  What are we most concerned about and dedicated to as Christians? Is it keeping our guns, building a wall, protecting our freedoms, defeating a certain candidate or party.... or is it having a relationship with God, taking the Gospel to the world, loving people, being Jesus to people? And no, this is not meant to be a political post, but one would assume from the last few months that Christians are more concerned with things of America than with things of God.

  If the world views us as anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim anti-everything else..... if they see us as hateful and unloving... how on earth are we being salt or light?

    I am very well aware of the gay agenda and what some gay people want, and it is scary. Both politcal candidates promised to further gay rights, so we may be in for interesting and dangerous times. I know the dangers of open borders, and of having our guns taken away. I have to wonder if we as Christians are approaching any of these issues in the right way, and if we are more concerned with building walls then reaching people for Christ and loving everyone as God commands us to.

 Has the church become too political? What are Christians known for?

  I don't know what the answer is to all of this. I want to feel safe. I want my family to be safe. I know we can't just open our borders and let everyone come across with no checks and balances.... but what should the Christian approach be to immigration, the gay agenda, abortion, guns, and all of the other things we have politicized and are guided by? Are we looking at these issues through the lens of God's Word and acting and reacting to them how He would have us do?

   Muslims scare me, I'll admit it. At times, I have found myself thinking if we shipped them all out of the US, we'd be a lot safer, yet I realize that is not a Christian attitude. If Muslims know Christians are supporting a man who is all about building a wall to keep them out, and is wanting to send them back where they came from, then how on earth will we ever reach Muslims for Jesus? I get it. I really get it,  but what should Christians do about Muslims and immigration? Would Jesus be demanding a wall? Would He be wanting to send all Muslims back to their country?

   How can we be salt and light to Muslims, gay people, women wanting the right to kill babies in the womb, people wanting to get rid of guns? Is our stance and views on these and other issues Christian and Biblical, or are they Republican and conservative and  all based on politics and fear? Sadly, it would seem the latter.

   Are we living our lives in ways that it would cause people to want what we have, to know this Jesus we serve, or are we driving people away from the church and from God by our politics, our fear, and what is perceived as hate, if it isn't actually hate?

   This election was worse than previous ones in ways, but this fearmongering is nothing new. Every election, both parties use fear to motiviate voters. If candidate R wins, women's rights will be set back hundreds of years, slavery will be legalized again, gay people will be shoved back in the closet and lose all of their rights, grandma will be pushed off the cliff, no one will have healthcare, and we will be at war, etc. If candidate D wins, we will lose our guns, abortion will be forced on everyone, euthinasia will be legalized, the Constitution will be destroyed, the Surpreme Court will be stacked with judges that will destroy our freedoms and rights and America itself, our country will be overrun by illegal immigrants, Chistianity will be outlawed, and more.

   Sadly most of those are things said by both parties. Every election, we are motivated by fear. We fear losing our rights and freedoms, and fear what the other party will do if they win. Trusting God and seeking His will get tossed aside, and politics becomes our god. Our political party winning the election becomes more important than our Christian witness, loving people, and being like Jesus. Harsh? Maybe so, but it would seem to be the case.

  We American Christians seem to have the idea that America matters most to God above all other countries and people. We tend to think we must have perfect living conditions here with our freedoms and rights as Americans intact to be able to serve God and live for Him. The result is we want to build walls instead of tear them down. Our primary focus is on maintaining our rights and freedoms instead of being like Jesus. It doesn't matter who we offend and turn off on Christianity, the most important thing to us is our country, patriotism, and our freedoms and rights.

   I have never claimed to be a genius, but I believe we Christians aren't living for the right world. When politics comes before God, how we treat people, and being like Jesus, we are living for the wrong things and the wrong world. There's no way we can be salt and light to the world when we give  our American life more importance than our Christianity.

  Something I have been asking myself, and all Christians should ask themselves, or at least similar questions:

Would gay people watching my life, my politics, my social media posts and interactions be apt to come to me and want to know the Jesus I serve?

If a Muslim was watching all of that, how likely would he be to want to know my Savior?

Women who have had abortions, illegal immigrants, Hispanics, black people, liberals, and anyone else....... would they be drawn to Jesus and being a Christian by what they see in and from us....at election time or any other time?

 If we can read those and not feel concern, then we are definitely doing something wrong.

  This post isn't aimed at any specific people or voting block. I have just felt very convicted in this area myself, and I know this is a widespread issue not exclusive to me, but existing in way too many Christians and churches in America.

  The phrase what would Jesus do has been worn out and turned into just another Christian fad, but that doesn't mean it is never worth asking... and so I ask it here: What would Jesus do about immigration, and everything else we worry so much about as American Christians?

 There are Christians going into Muslim countries to evangelize, risking their lives and the lives of their families. Other Christians are giving risking their lives and giving their all for God in other dangerous areas in the world..... and here we are wanting to build a wall because we value our freedoms, safety, and rights more than those Christians.

   Could it be that with our agenda to keep our freedoms and rights, to feel safe, to build a wall, and stay in our Evangelical Christian bubble..... we have lost our savor as being salt of the earth, and that our light is not just dimmed, but extinguished?

  Again, this post isn't aimed at anyone. This is something that has been on my heart, and is something that has had me convicted over my attitudes, views, and priorities. When we stand before God some day, how will He look at these issues in our lives, how we voted, and what our priorities have been?

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