For the Love of God

Telling people how to vote and getting angry at those who vote differently than you do, or who have beliefs different than yours is not the answer. Democrats are not all alike. Republicans are not all alike. Not all Democrats believe in abortion, not all Democrats believe in socialism. Democrats are just human beings, and like all of us, needing redemption. Not all Republicans are opposed to abortion, not all Republicans are opposed to socialism. Republicans need redemption just as much as Democrats. We’re all sinners. Not all Muslims are terrorists. More Muslims die from extremists than non-Muslims. I don’t agree with Islam any more than I agree with Mormonism. But I do not view Mitt Romney as a danger to the United States. I do not view the Muslim who works at the gas station around the corner as a danger to the United States. Again, they need Jesus. That’s what our focus as Christians needs to be on.

Loving people is our primary our purpose as Christians and it is the primary purpose of the church. One of the main ways we love people is by sharing our faith with them.

The church is not the United States. The church is not the Republican party. The church is not the Democratic party. God is not a politician. And most of all, people are not our enemy. They are objects of love:

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:6-10)

We need to show people the love of Jesus, always. Don’t forget that those you disagree with are first and foremost, people. Don’t conflate human beings with Satan.

Paul is very clear. He told the church that we don’t wage war as the world does:

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

And Paul points out that our enemies are not flesh and blood:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Jesus was quite clear about the way Christians were supposed to think:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

We change the world by changing the hearts and minds of the people we come in contact with. Our job is to evangelize, to share the love of Jesus. Our job is not to get out the vote.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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