I am truly dismayed at the backlash against John Piper and his letter which I discussed yesterday. As I perused social media, I couldn’t believe the hatred that spewed from those who call themselves “Christian.” It was clear that if they did read his letter, they totally missed his point. All too often, their conclusion is that he was voting Democrat and encouraging others to do so, too.
Wrong. It did, however, reveal a big problem – our hatred – as well as our unwillingness to tolerate differences of view. That was alarming to me.
What Piper and David Platt (whom I wrote about Tuesday) did was shine a light on other grave sin. What they DIDN’T do was offer any sort of reasonable alternative, given the dominating importance of the abortion issue.
We may win the battle and re-elect the most pro-life president in our country’s history, but can we feel good about that? Whether we like to admit it or not, abortion isn’t going to go away until the heart and mind of Americans changes.
Look, all this hatred surrounding this issue is playing right into Satan’s hand. If you can’t see this, you need to take another look. Ask yourself this, has all the work to eradicate abortion brought about the results we desire? Sure, some states have reduced the number of abortions, but guess what? All that changes if Democrats get into power.
It’s a deadlock struggle in which no one wins. Why? Because it’s a battle of hatred. It’s exactly what Satan desires.
If we want more of that, keep doing what we’re doing. If you want something different, then a totally new strategy is needed.
Here’s something to remember. As Christians, we are no longer under the law, right? Our sins are forgiven; so even if we do sin, we are covered by the blood Jesus shed for us. The law no longer applies. It’s not that the law is meaningless or of no value. Hardly! It’s that God has written the law on our hearts and changed us by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are fundamentally changed – and are continually changing – so that today we march to the beat of a different drummer.
Our hearts and minds have changed.
How do we change the hearts and minds of this nation?
2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
I’ve got news for you. We will not reconcile this nation through the re-election of Donald Trump. Yes, we may advance the pro-life meter a twitch, but until we change the hearts and minds of this nation, it is short-lived. Face the facts, Donald Trump is simply the most divisive president I have ever seen. Yes, given the alternatives, he probably needs to be re-elected, but then we still have to explore other strategies.
I say we need to really start working our representatives in all levels of government. We need to really start working them to change this either/or frame of mind. They need to understand that they are just as much the problem as the other side is. After all, the other side is thinking the same thing about them! Most of our representatives are reasonable, rational people who are simply caught in a system. They are probably just as frustrated as we are.
Encourage them to be bold and take some risks. Reach out across the aisle. Actually, they may need to step into the other side on some things. I think that would be a good thing.
For example, let’s look at abortion. Killing a fetus is clearly wrong, yet Christians are accused of heartless disregard to the mother in an unwanted pregnancy. Whether that is fair or not is irrelevant if we desire to change the hearts and minds of Democrats. After all, it’s my guess that huge numbers of them are sickened by the forceful direction of their party. They simply are caught up in the same ugly game of politics that we are.
How do we change their mind? Well, like James writes, “So also faith, by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17) We must do as we say, not as we do. What if your daughter got pregnant but the circumstances weren’t right? I’ll bet you would do everything in your power to provide for her and that child, even if it meant to take both into your own home.
It would seem to me that one of the biggest reasons women get an abortion is economic. Why? Because men are known to abandon their role and responsibility and leave the woman alone in her pregnancy. She is a widow, and the unborn child is an orphan.
James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Let me share what the MacArthur Commentary says about this verse:
1:27 Pure and undefiled religion. James picks two synonymous adjectives to define the most spotless kind of religious faith – that which is measured by compassionate love (cf. John 13:35). orphans and widows. Those without parents or husbands were and are an especially needy segment of the church (see notes on 1 Tim. 5:3; cf. Ex. 22:22; Deut. 14:28, 29; Ps. 68:5; Jer. 7:6, 7; 22:16; Acts 6:1-6). Since they are usually unable to reciprocate in any way, caring for them clearly demonstrates true, sacrificial, Christian love. world. The evil world system (see notes on 4:4; 1 John 2:15).
Take some time to look these references up.
Folks, these are the things Christians are to do. It will be very, very expensive to do this. And, yes, there will be plenty who will take advantage of the system today, just as there would have been when James penned his letter. That’s on them. Our job is to take care of the widows and orphans.
Do you think we might soften some hearts if we truly did this? Look, we have tremendous influence on our government representatives. This should be an easy sell. It would prove to the other side that we not only care about the unborn but also the post-born. That’s the biggest criticism we receive. Why don’t we hit that one head-on? Hard?
Why don’t we? We’re commanded to. We have no excuse. Period.
Might we also then see progress in other areas as well? I’ll bet we will.
Now, where to start? Let’s start with me. Let’s start with you. How about having some conversations with others about these things? With people of like minds as well as those who aren’t. If you said to your liberal niece, “You know, I’m changing my mind on a lot of things…,” do you think you might be able to have a different type of conversation?
Or how about this, with your liberal son-in-law? “I voted for Trump because I felt I had to. It makes me sick to think about how this guy acts. I’ve determined to do everything I can so that we aren’t stuck with candidates like this again, and I’m going to start by listening. I’ll bet people like you or me can come up with a few solutions so we can get along better on these things, don’t you? Let me start by saying I think Donald Trump needs to have his phone taken away.”
Then, remember all the other lessons the bible teaches us to listen, to hold your tongue, to avoid arguing, to season everything you do say with salt. You may really need to work on all these things BEFORE you try them. Nothing worse than trying to be nice then not being able to control yourself.
Humility is a difficult dish to swallow, but how good it is for the soul! We don’t have to compromise the word of God in any of this, but humility will certainly give us the right to speak far better than arguments.
Friends, we have our work cut out for us. No matter the outcome of this election, our role is Ambassadors for Christ. Encourage your brother and sister in the church to see this – and not only to see it, but to live it.
Tomorrow, I might give a few more ideas on how we might start the conversation on reconciling.
Father, my soul is starting to enjoy peace with this. Thank you. Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers