Rachel's Blog

Discussing faith, politics, and life.

Tag: Jesus

Don’t Change Jesus To Fit Your Ideology

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.
-Proverbs 16:24

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.
-Proverbs 16:8

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.

It is Impossible To Be a Christian and Not Be a Hypocrite

Humans love to pick out the inconsistencies between people’s words and actions. So many of us, inside and outside the church, look at Christians and think, “What a bunch of hypocrites. Where is Jesus’ love?” The sentiment is coming from a real place, because it is impossible to be a Christian and not be a hypocrite.

Looking for the blameless is one of the biggest misconceptions about Christianity. Following Jesus is not about being perfect, it is about admitting we are flawed and need a savior (Galatians 2:21). I would argue that all Christians can be slated as hypocrites at one point or another. We preach loving our neighbors as ourselves and then fail to love the people in our very own homes, our coworkers, and our friends, let alone our enemies.

People Will Always Fail You

If you rely entirely on the actions and words of people for a reason to follow God, you will be disappointed. People will always fail you.

Do not get me wrong, as followers of Jesus it is immensely important to be inside this community of imperfect believers, because alone it is so easy to doubt God. Through community we can support each other, answer questions, and try to live out the best human form of love we can (Hebrews 10:24-25). The Christian community is full of sinful people that will disappoint you at some time or another, but they are still family.

God Will Never Fail You

My mother once told me that being in a church does not make you anymore a Christian than being in a garage makes you a car. Being a Christian is not about where you are physically, the people you surround yourself with relationally, or the good things you do. It is all about God. And until we realize that, the church will fail us. God will never fail you. Even when you feel like He has failed you, He is using your circumstances to grow you, help others, and deepen His relationship with you.

There is nothing that you can do to make God love you anymore or any less. God has already maxed out His love for you and nothing you can do will change that. Through this love, Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross, so we can be free from the penalty of death for those that choose to follow Him (Romans 5:8).

God Helps Us Eliminate Hypocrisy

Although Christians (or should I just say humans?) always fall short, God calls us to choose a better path. The truth is we all struggle with different things for different reasons. God knows we struggle and He knows we are not perfect, but He does expect us to grow.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
-Matthew 7:3-5

God’s solution to hypocrisy is not to be perfect*. God’s solution is not to go around affirming everyone’s actions either. God instead calls us to end hypocrisy by reflecting on and removing our own shortcomings before we point out the shortcomings of others. He tells us to take on the difficult task of wrestling with the bad in ourselves, so we can humble ourselves before others and recognize that love can cover a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

*At the same time, God does speak on living with integrity in our words and actions, so God can use us as an arrow to the gospel. This concept could be a whole separate blog, so if you would like to begin exploring you can read Philippians 2:14-15, 2 Timothy 2:21, and Titus 2:7-8.

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