I’m grieving today. To be honest, I’ve been grieving for a while, but today and yesterday are different.
Jesus followers — especially American — are divided. It’s no longer a Baptist vs. Methodist, Catholic vs. Lutheran, or Assembly of God vs. Church of God rift.
It’s now Jesus vs. America.
As Jesus followers, we don’t have the luxury of getting to choose when we’re American and when we’re followers of Jesus. There’s a reason that Christianity isn’t a political side.
Jesus isn’t a right wing or left wing American citizen. He’s not part of any political party. I’ve become more and more convinced that as his followers, neither can we be.
We are set apart — part of another kingdom. If we are to be “Christlike,” then we don’t have an option of choosing when we are so, and when we aren’t.
Either we are Jesus to the world 100% of the time, or we aren’t 100%. It can’t be both. There’s not any gray area checkbox to check saying, “I like Jesus, but I’m only going to be like him when it’s convenient,” although I often wish there was.
Jesus didn’t say that we only have to love our enemies when they’re playing nicely in our sandbox.
He said, “You know that Hebrew Scripture sets this standard of justice and punishment: take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say this, don’t fight against the one who is working evil against you. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, you are to turn and offer him your left cheek. If someone connives to get your shirt, give him your jacket as well. If someone forces you to walk with him for a mile, walk with him for two instead. If someone asks you for something, give it to him. If someone wants to borrow something from you, do not turn away… But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you—in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven… It is easy to love those who love you—even a thief can love those who love him. And it is easy to greet your friends—even outsiders do that! But you are called to something higher: Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.“
How is God perfect, and how can we be perfect like him? God is Love. Love is perfect. We can be made perfect by being Love to others.
Love isn’t a politician. Love isn’t an American citizen. Love is something higher. Love is perfect.
Derek Webb wrote a song called “Love Is Not Against The Law. (<– song)” His words are fitting:
Politics or love
Can make you blind or make you see
Make you a slave or make you free
But only one does it all
And it’s giving up your life
For the ones you hate the most
It’s giving them your gown
When they’ve taken your clothes
It’s learning to admit
When you’ve had a hand in setting them up
In knocking them down
Love is not against the law
Love is not against the law
Are we defending life
When we just pick and choose lives acceptable to lose
And which ones to defend
Because you cannot choose your friends
But you choose your enemies
And what if they were one
One and the same
Could you find a way
To love them both the same
To give them your name
Sure, we may be taxpaying American citizens, but Jesus drew a line in the sand 2000 years ago. Wind may have blown that line and caused it to fade, but I can assure you that it still exists.
He is either Love or he isn’t. You, likewise, are either Love or you aren’t.
American politicians are stating where they stand by choosing whether or not to acknowledge minorities (immigrants, refugees, the LGBT community, non-whites, etc.) as people. Many of them are choosing to go against Love’s way, and so many of you are cheering them on.
Friends, we’re either Jesus followers, or we aren’t.
I love you all so very much — so deeply! My heart is aching to hear your words of anger, hate, and fear! I’m broken knowing that I’m now separated from you.
I’m grieving today knowing that I’m choosing to walk away from you. I’m dropping stones and crossing to the other side like so many other Jesus followers have done.
I stand with Love. I cannot ignore the faces of the outcasts. I cannot ignore the face of Jesus. I’m saddened if you disagree.
“I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother hungry or cold, when you saw a sister weak and without friends, when you saw the least of these and ignored their suffering, so you ignored Me.” – Jesus
Inscription on the Statue of Liberty, by Emma Lazarus:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”