One time when I was in the fifth grade a fight broke out during recess. All the kids were gathered around yelling as two boys were punching and kicking one another. What I remember most is feeling nervous and sick to my stomach. That’s what the world looks like right now—a schoolyard fight—but on a much larger and more brutal scale. And that same nervousness and nausea I felt back then sometimes floods my body as I watch the national and international events of each day unfold.
One of the words the Bible uses to describe the fallen human condition is “enmity” (Genesis 3:15; Romans 8:5-7). At its deepest, darkest core, sin is enmity against God and others. Apart from the subduing effect of God’s grace upon our hearts, we humans are in constant internal turmoil that boils over into hostility toward some chosen enemy. There is a deep-seated psychology to our enmity: we suppress and evade our own guilt by blaming, accusing, and hating others (Romans 2:1-4). The practice of diminishing others allows us to maintain an inflated sense of self. It is euphoric to our carnal nature to have someone to speak badly about.
As fellow believers in Christ, we are encouraged to “admonish” one another. So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to offer three bits of admonishment.
1. Be Humble. Back in 1908 a London newspaper invited a few prominent authors to each write an article answering the question, “What’s wrong with the world?” G.K. Chesterton’s article consisted of three lines:
Yours, G.K. Chesterton
The current state of world politics is a manifestation of what’s wrong with all of us.
The fact is, all hatred is illegitimate on the premise that each of us is part of the problem. None of us is made from fundamentally better moral material than anyone else. As followers of Jesus, we should be deescalating the vitriol that is overtaking the world by not contributing to it. In their remarkable book, The Lessons of History, Will and Ariel Durant write, “Our states, being what we are multiplied, are what we are. They write our natures in bolder type and do our good and evil on an elephantine scale.” The current state of world politics is a manifestation of what’s wrong with all of us. While stating an opposing view on a matter is perfectly acceptable, and even vital to our growth, doing so with an attitude of hostility only further divides us.
The world needs to witness humility in those who claim the name of Christ!
2. Stay Loyal. To who, exactly? To Jesus! As followers of Christ, our kingdom is not of this world, and that means we cannot give ultimate loyalty to any political party. I like what Pastor Richie Halversen recently posted on Twitter:
“We must align our politics to our faith, not our faith to our politics. The Bible rejects and affirms aspects of both political parties. You cannot be a staunch Republican, or a staunch Democrat, if you are a staunch follower of Christ.
Followers of Jesus are called to address, even protest, injustice wherever it is found, not to give ourselves with partisan loyalty to any one particular party, conservative or liberal. Jesus isn’t a Republican, nor a Democrat. Jesus does not favor America over Mexico. Jesus gave His life for the world and His kingdom is not of this world.
The world needs to see a revelation of Christ that transcends partisan politics!
Followers of Jesus are called to address, even protest, injustice wherever it is found
3. Shed Light. Yes, there is a lot of darkness and hate in the world, but none of it can be overcome by direct attack. Ellen White says it like this: “The way to dispel darkness is to admit light” (The Desire of Ages, p. 498).
For the most part, religion—including Christianity—has ‘uglified’ the character of God and, as a result, sent people running from God. The church needs to paint a picture of God that draws them back. History is riddled with dastardly deeds done in the name of God, including present events we see unfolding. When the Bible announces, “Babylon is fallen,” it is telling us that the colossal system known to the world as “Christianity” is really a grand delusion through which God has been grossly misrepresented. Essentially, humanity is in desperate need of a radical, paradigm-shifting understanding of God’s love to eclipse the ugly, abusive, traumatizing picture of God that political Christianity has imposed upon the world.
The world needs to encounter the light of God’s love in His people!
If you want to be a part of something bigger than yourself, something bigger than any political party, I want to invite you to jump on board with Light Bearers. Partner with us to bring the light of God’s love to the world.
Ty is a speaker/director for Light Bearers and pastor of Storyline Adventist Church. A passionate communicator with a message that opens minds and moves hearts, Ty teaches on a variety of topics, emphasizing God’s unfailing love as the central theme of the Bible. Ty and his wife Sue have three adult children and two grandsons.