Conservatives often believe people should complete hard work to deserve what they receive. Liberals often believe people deserve basic human needs, such as housing, food, and healthcare. Jesus’ love says, it doesn’t matter what a person deserves, love them as if you were loving me (Mathew 25:40). We cannot place Jesus into a political ideology, but we can form a unique political ideology as a response to following Jesus.
As Christians, we need to learn how to love others in a radical way. We need to stop talking about what people deserve or do not deserve. Why? The liberating life of following Jesus is not about what we deserve, it is about living in the grace of God. If we all got what we deserved in our imperfection, we would get death, but Jesus died for us so that we may experience life. So, let’s shift the conversation away from what we deserve to the example Christ has set for us.
God Wants Us To Act, Not To Blame
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Did you know the Bible says there will always be people in poverty walking the earth (Deuteronomy 15:11)? God provides this information so we will give to those in need, not so we can become complacent about people living in poverty. Part of being gracious is recognizing people sometimes fall into (or are born into) hard times they cannot control. God does not want us to blame people we don’t even know for their own hardship (Proverbs 11:12). Instead He expects us to use gracious, kind words that can help bring healing to people in addition to giving.
13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”
-2 Corinthians 8:13-15
God wants us all to work hard and give whenever we can (Proverbs 14:23, Proverbs 3:27, 1 John 3:17). That way our blessings can be blessings to others, and if we are ever in need our neighbors can also give to us. Now that is a beautiful form of community.
God Does Not Want Injustice
Better is a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.
God detests people who make gains through wicked schemes (Proverbs 6:11). Sometimes I think we forget that wicked schemes can be made at high levels (such as the government). It is better to have little with righteousness than to gain a lot through injustice. God knows there is injustice in the world, and injustice exists on small to nation-wide scales. Nobody can control where they are born into the current structure of injustice, but we can control how we respond to it.
A good start to understanding how injustice works is by listening to people different than us and recognizing their experiences comes from a real place. Once we make this recognition, we can then try to work for justice rather than ignorantly gain from injustice. Sometimes the gain can be as simple as an unfair advantage. God’s wisdom in Proverbs 16:19 says, “Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed, than to share plunder with the proud.” If you purposely gain from injustice, then a change in your heart needs to happen in an extent further than this blog can address.
Shaping Our Ideology Around Jesus
The world is a hard place to live. Followers of Christ have the option to follow Jesus’ example and love in a counter-cultural way. A way that says, I will listen to your struggle, but no matter why you experience this struggle I still want to show you love. Why? Because we want everyone to know the source of where this love came from: Jesus.
Jesus cannot be defined as conservative or liberal. We cannot twist who Jesus is so he will fit a political side, but we can chose to conform our political beliefs around who He is. The best way to love cannot be found solely in liberal or conservative ideologies. Jesus’ love can be found in providing healthcare to those that cannot afford it. Jesus’ love can be found in warning people not to dehumanize unborn babies. Jesus’ love can be found in welfare programs. Jesus’ love can be found in the way we view others, if we chose to view others with mercy and grace.