Monday, September 1, 2008

Love One Another

Goodness. Time flies by, and I neglect my duties. Sorry!! We are back in the states now and getting settled back in. The jetlag is starting to wear off and we are finding our new routines here. I must say that we came back at a very ugly time politically speaking. I know that things are going to get much worse before they get any better, but I just have to say this to get it out there and off my chest.

Stop slandering the name of a fellow Christ follower!

Seriously folks, you know who you are if you are doing it. It is wrong and goes against everything that we claim to believe as followers of the Way of Jesus.

Jesus said in John 13:15, "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you."

And in John 13:34-35, He said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

What is going in the political arena just makes my heart sick. You have to know that I am not necessarily a fan of Barack Obama. Politically speaking, I have not yet made my decision and am still considering lots of different issues (because it really is about more than just abortion and gay marriage). But the man claims to be a follower of Christ Jesus, just as I do, and I know that I am not wise enough or holy enough to judge him. I do not sit on any sort of throne that I may judge his state of salvation or his sincerity to love the Lord. Truth be told, neither do you.

You want to talk politics? That's great. Stick to the issues. You may or may not agree with the plans and strategies that he has put forth should he become president. That's okay. Scripture says, "Come, let us reason together." But in reasoning together, you do not tear down the very character of the human being.

But when you start slandering his character, when you start calling him names like terrorist, communist, or Bible mocker, you are no longer talking politics. You are defaming the person, who was created in the very same of image of God that you were.

This just breaks my heart because it shows the great disconnect that is too alive in the Church. Jesus told us that if we love one another all men will know that we are His disciples. I hear bold "Christians" who have stood up and called Obama some horrendous names and stretched truths and pulled many words of any sort of context for the sake of political gain. The Jesus that I know and adore would not be a part of that conversation, but might have a few names of His own, such as Pharisee.

I have just begun reading a very interesting book called "Jesus for President" (which I think every follower of Christ should read, by the way) when I came across this statement:
Some of us may remember a Sunday school tune: "His banner over me, his banner over you, is love, love, love." This is another way of saying his banner, and not Rome's banner, is over me. And his banner means "love, love, love," not Rome's "freedom, peace, and security." We wave the banner for Jesus and not for Rome, the United States of America, or any other nation or empire that vies for our allegiance.

But it wasn't as if Jesus wanted Rome's power or wanted to gain a foothold in the culture wars of his time. He didn't want to climb Caesar's throne. This political language doesn't harmonize with the contemporary church project of "reclaiming America for God." Precisely the opposite: Jesus was urging his followers to be the unique, peculiar, and set-apart people that began with Abraham. He didn't pray for the world in order to make governments more religious: he called Israel to be the light of the world - to abandon the way of the world and cultivate an alternative society in the shell of the old, not merely to be a better version of the kingdom of this world.
I found that very timely and very interesting in light of all the smearing of names that is happening. Whoever wins this political battle, so be it. But for heaven's sake, be a good ambassador of Jesus in the meantime. Are you talking about issues and the best course of action for the country as a whole, or are slandering the character of a human being, one who claims to be on the same journey as you, one who bears the same image of the Creator as you? Don't disgrace Jesus or His Way for the sake of political agendas.

What does the Scripture say...What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?

Mercy. Let us end well, brothers and sisters, that our behavior and heart attitude is glorifying to God in all situations. That we are bringing Him honor in all things that we do. Tearing down one of His children is not how to bring Him honor. We are to build each other, edify, and yes, challenge. As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. But we are not sharpening, edifying, or building anything other than political agendas when we are sending around emails full of unsubstantiated lies and half-truths, posting YouTube videos on blogs that are just down right mean, not to mention way off base and out of context. This is not how we build the Church. This is how we drive others away. Why would the world want to be a part of such a divisive and judgmental group of people?

We are called to be different...a peculiar people, known for our love of each other. Honestly, it is not your call to say whether or not Barack Obama is a follower of Christ. He says that he is. The King of kings is the only One worthy of determining his heart condition. It is not for any of the rest of us to judge, but to love him as we would any other brother of the Church.

Let us end this well, brothers and sisters. Let us rise above the ways of this world and live according to the calling which we have received. Let us love.

Grace and peace y'all. It's good to be home.


  1. Shauna, girl, you came back all fired up! I love it! I think you have hit the nail on the head. I can't even watch TV now (not that I did very much before the political wave). It's awful how things are headed. Thank you for your honest, Scripture-based encouragement and challenge. That's one reason why I love you! xoxo

  2. Lisa, I am so excited to see you tonight. I was very sad to come back to such ugliness, and among Christians none-the-less. I thought we left that in Africa, but it seems that sort of thing is infectious everywhere. Praising Jesus for how the Launch went. So excited to see you!

  3. That's a good word right there, Shauna. Thanks so much for your comments.
    I love the thought of being peculiar. As a rule, I'm pretty boring, but following Christ is so radical we can't help but be peculiar.
    This week I will be pondering "{Jesus} didn't pray for the world in order to make governments more religious; he called Israel to be the light of the world." Wow! It is so obvious in scripture, yet I never remember it being translated to our current culture in that way!
    Glad you all are home!

  4. Donita!
    I met your sister this morning at MOPS. It was a great connection!! Thanks for your comments here. I also found that quote to be very challenging and am still pondering over its application for us as believers and followers of Christ. What do we do with that and how now do we live? I think some of those answers are quite obvious, such as not slandering others' character, but some of the further implications can be a challenge to bring to light in our present day culture.
    You make me laugh when you say that you are boring. Not so, sister. Not so.
    Love you Donita. Thanks for journeying with me on this.

  5. Thanks, Shauna. Honestly, I have been buying into the whole Obama=Bad thing, because I feel it is hypocritical to support issues that the God you serve says are evil. I haven't even thought of him as a Christian, but whether he is or not is not for me to judge, as you have reminded us. Thanks for giving me something to think about. Glad you made it safely home!

  6. Angela,
    It's good to hear from you again. You know, there are issues that I don't agree with Obama about, and that's okay. Vote for him, don't vote for him, that's an easy choice to make. The problem comes when we as a people of God become divided over things that should not be dividing us. First and foremost we are created in the image of God, and as believers in Christ, we are covered by the blood of Jesus. That should be enough to unite us as one body in any and every situation. The rest of it should be things that we can discuss, reason together about, but not divide us. It is okay to agree to disagree but still resolve to love each other as Christ loves us. Just stick to the issues. Don't go after the man's character or personally attack him. He's still a son of the Most High God.
    Thanks for checking back with me. It was great to have you along for the journey.


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