There’s a word that’s popping up a lot lately, especially in church. It often prompts controversial discussion, leaving most people feeling angry and/or scared.
That word? ‘Rights.’ Particularly ‘Christian,’ ‘religious,’ and ‘American’ rights.
It can’t be denied that the political climate of our country is changing and that freedoms we once enjoyed are being threatened. In reaction to this, the church has become a political force and Christians everywhere are being urged to stand up and defend their rights.
Trouble is, I honestly don’t see anything in the Scriptures about fighting for our rights. In fact, in 1 Peter 2:17, I found what seems to me to be the direct opposite:
‘Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.’
That doesn’t sound very much like the current Christian agenda. But, we are living in a different culture with different sins. Surly, if Peter were to see our president today, he wouldn’t tell us to honor a man who is so clearly against our Christian values. Right?
Only, Peter wrote this letter to the Roman provinces in Asia. And the king at that time? Nero.
And I looked into it, the word honor as used here in the Greek basically means honor. Does that mean we obey the laws of the land if that requires disobeying the laws of God? Of course not. Does that mean we stop gossiping and complaining about the government and pray for them instead…?
If honoring a king you don’t agree with is hard, how much more so people whom you interact with every day. ‘Honor all people.’ Well, it does say all. Does that mean that we defend actions that are clearly sinful according to God’s definition? Of course not. Does it mean we stop trying to save people in our own strength by manipulating them into repentance and simply share the Gospel with them instead…?
We’ve lost ourselves to a screaming match with culture. Social media is lifting up sin as heroic and empowering while the church is condemning its practitioners to the pits of hell. Meanwhile, what we’re failing to realize is that we are fighting the wounded.
When did we get so caught up in ‘rights’ that we forgot to preach the Gospel? When did we forget that we laid down our rights to fair treatment at the foot of the cross?
Christ died to take our rights away from us, because our inalienable birthright is eternal punishment for our sins.
Do we really want to fight for our rights, for what we deserve?
But then, what about defending the Scriptures, and God’s laws? I read an article recently that said we have to defend the sanctity of marriage from the government because it’s a God-ordained institution. The implication here being that the Supreme Court’s decision supersedes God’s opinion, that if the Federal Government of America calls it a marriage, then God is forced to acknowledge it as such. That’s just silly.
We defend the Scriptures by living by them and by allowing God to exhibit His glory and love in our lives. We need to be wary of distractions; Jesus didn’t get mixed up in politics, nor did the apostles. Instead, the early church did what it was mandated to do: spread the Gospel.
By doing that, they turned the world upside down.
That’s all we have to do. Instead, we Christians are playing the persecution card, cloaking ourselves in victim-hood. But we are the ones with full access to God. We are the ones who have tasted of His love and forgiveness. We are the ones looking forward to eternity in paradise with Him.
We aren’t the victims. The people we’re fighting are. That makes us the bullies.
We are so eager to save a dying world for God that we condemn the homosexual, conveniently forgetting that he’s the one who isn’t enjoying God’s best for his life. We shout hate at the pregnant teenager as if killing her unborn child won’t scar her for life. We gossip about and pray against politicians who’ve traded their morality for the perception of power.
That can’t be right. They are the ones who are truly suffering in their sins. They’re the ones who will be hurt by their choices. Why are we offended? Why are we hurt? Why are we fighting for our rights? And most importantly, why aren’t we loving these people instead?
Let’s bring the focus away from political agendas and back to Jesus and His saving power, instead of trying to save people our way. Instead of defending our rights, let’s defend the Gospel with our lives by displaying it in our lives and show a dying world what the Savior can do.