Faith, Hope, and Love
These are three of the most important “take-aways” from reading Scripture. As you read through the pages of the Bible, you cannot help but be taken in by the focus on faith, hope and love that is woven throughout the text.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (ESV)
As many of you are, I am struggling with the current political climate. The struggle is not just because of what this season is doing to our country, but equally, or perhaps even more so, what it is doing to the church. People like this candidate because of this reason and they hate this candidate because of that reason. People cannot believe that their friends or family would even consider voting for this person or for that person. Arguments on social media range from simply condescending to outright confrontational. This may be a newsflash for some folks, but I have never seen anyone ever change their mind about anything by being involved in an argument on Facebook. Is there any good reason for this to be disrupting fellowship in the church? NO! If anything, this season should be bringing Christians together to pray for our country, our leaders, and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Through all of this time, the world is looking at the church. They are always watching and looking, but right now is a time that is especially intriguing for them. The church is tearing itself apart. This leader is endorsing this person but this leader is saying that there is no way a Christian could actually vote for that person. When we look at the vast majority of social media discussions by Christians dealing with the presidential race, faith, hope, and love are scarce.
As Christians we should have faith in our God and Creator in all things. Yes, that even means to have faith in Him with our political system. When we look at Psalm 20, we see David talking about where people put their faith (trust) in his time. It was in those things that gave governments power, namely horses and chariots. Today, in the USA, our government’s power is in the elected officials. Remember David’s words.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Psalm 20:7 (ESV)
We should always remember that no matter what happens here on Earth, that we have hope in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The truth is that there are very few people that see this election as something full of hope. Many people feel that they are simply choosing the lesser of two (or more) evils. The reality is that we as the church should be exemplifying the fact and the idea that no matter what is happening or raging around us, our hope is in Christ. That is a hope that we should not only cling to on our own, but we should also strive to share that hope with a world around us that is in desperate need of it. We should be rejoicing everyday in the hope that we have.
12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12 (ESV)
This one is the biggy. There is nothing that sets Christianity apart more from every other world religion than its central theme of love. Love that God has for us, love that we should have for God, and love that we should have for each other. It is the thing that defines Christianity. The definition is something that should be evident to both those in the church and those outside it. Love should be the compass by which we check the direction of everything that we say, do, and post. It was because of love that Christ laid down His life for us and it is because of love that we are called to lay down our lives for each other as well.
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35 (ESV)
If you have a problem with someone that merits you needing to talk about it, then the Bible has a very specific process for doing that. Even if social media had been a thing in the first century, I am sure that it would not have been a part of the Biblical process.
Instead of focusing on the things that we disagree on as members of the Body of Christ, what if we focused on the things that we agree on? What if we looked towards the issues of making sure the people hear the Good News? What about making sure that people are growing as disciples of Christ? There are very few people that I have ever met that I agree with 100% of the time. It is that which we hold common that should be the foundation of our relationships and actions towards one another, not that on which we differ.
What if people were as passionate about sharing their faith as they about bashing this person or that person over their political views? Think about the amount of time and effort that people have spent on making sure that people know why they are supporting so and so.
What if the church used this time of division in our country as a time to speak faith, hope, and love into people’s lives instead of tearing them down and looking down at them?
Does this mean that we should all agree? Of course not. Does this mean that we should not be willing to take a stand for what we believe? No. This means that we should always consider all of our actions in light of faith, love, and hope. Do we need to speak our heart and mind at times? Yes! Do we need to bite our tongue and turn the other cheek sometimes? Definitely. Just make sure that everything that we say and do is done with the love of Christ. Do not air your dirty laundry for the world to see. Take it first to the Throne of God.
Here are a few things that I would ask each person reading this to consider and act on.
- If there is someone that you have hurt, offended, or otherwise treated in other than a Biblical manner through all of this political circus, go to that person and genuinely ask for forgiveness. If you feel you need to address a problem with someone, then make sure that you are following the process that is outlined in Scripture (Matthew 18:15-17).
- Make a point in your conversations, both in person and online, to only post things that exemplify love, unity, and concern for one another.
- Pray for our country, our current leaders, and our future leaders. Pray that God would redeem our country and that a great revival would be had from shore to shore.