Testing My Christianity – “In the World, But Not Of It” Doesn’t Mean Be Politically Silent

… for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” … “My kingdom is not of this world.” John 17-18

Through many scriptures, it is made clear that though Christians live in this world, they have citizenship in Christ’s Kingdom and are therefore, in this world, but not of it.

I’m not sure how it came about that Christians feel they aren’t supposed to speak out about wrongdoing, injustice, and cruelty in the political world. Have the words “politically correct” turned into a weapon used to silence those that follow The Way?

It seems to be a foregone conclusion that if you are a Christian, you are not allowed to speak on political issues and you certainly aren’t supposed to have an opinion about any of it. You’ve probably heard something like, “let the world do what they will; we’re in it, but not of it”. Yes, we ARE in it, and as members of this society, we are called to see and speak truth in all aspects of our lives.

That means when people are lying, stealing, cheating, gossiping and hurting others, we are called to say something about that. Not every time and not in every instance, of course; because wisdom and the Holy Spirit say there is a time to speak and a time to be silent. However, there IS a time to speak, especially when we are being bombarded with comments, statements, and invitations to respond to untruths and unrighteousness inside and outside of politics.

We are called to stand out in our convictions about who Jesus is and what he stood for; and as such, we must speak truth into the sheeple vortex as he so often did. This doesn’t mean we have to organize protest groups, march in the streets, or use our social connections to fill up petitions; but, it doesn’t preclude such things either.

It’s been said that evil thrives when good people do nothing. Since we are among those good people, we are called to say and do something when confronted with unrighteousness. At times those words are short, concise, and cutting; while in other situations they are discreet, diplomatic, and conversational. At the very least, a well-timed and well-posed question can go far in getting people to think about what they are saying or doing; instead of simply standing idly by while people spew lies, disrespect, sinful speech, or gossip. Notwithstanding his supreme sacrifice at the cross, Jesus was never accused of silently accepting sin around him. Although every person has their own decisions to make and freedom to choose, Jesus made clear what those choices were. What about us?

Our convictions in Christ should be reflected in our daily lives at home, at work, in various hobby groups, in our communities, and online; and should show people where we stand on many issues – socially and politically. Our words and deeds should make it clear to those around us that we are followers of Christ and will not tolerate crass joking, cruel talk, gossip, or argumentative conversations. Instead, we can be leaders in healthy conversations and hearty debate, while always striving to keep open, respectful, and unified relationships. Of course, there are some people that will make that goal very difficult, but as much as it depends on us, we must strive for peaceful relationships around us. And when we fall into sin in any of these areas, we must be quick to apologize and restore the standards set forth in our faith.

When people curse, gossip, and tell inappropriate jokes and then notice you are in earshot, do they self-correct and apologize, without you saying anything? Have you made it clear that you are not OK with that kind of language around you? If not, you can simply ask people to “speak nice, please” – sometimes with a chuckle to ease the correction, sometimes with an astonished face, and sometimes with the sternness needed to make your stance known.

Your response to unrighteousness, whether in word or deed, or by your sheer presence, stands as a barometer for the world. So, the next time you hear someone make a sweeping false statement about a social or political issue, try asking them why they think that or what brought them to that conclusion. You may be surprised at how little they really know about why they think what they think. Even if they don’t have a reasonable answer or any answer at all, your sincere and objective question will be like a seed planted. Over time, those simple nonjudgmental questions can have a positive effect on the types of things being said around you and the types of conversations you can start to have.

The same should hold true about the authorities all around us. The positions of authority must be respected regardless of who occupies those positions – whether you agree with their stance or not. Your boss, your teacher, a police officer, your senator, and your president all deserve the respect afforded by the position they occupy. Even in your disagreement of their policies, behaviors, actions, or speech, you are called to speak factually and respectfully about them as you converse with others.

A challenge to all Christians is to seek both agreement and respectful disagreement in all your conversations and relationships – formal and informal, intimate and passing, friends and colleagues alike. It’s not only possible, but expected, that Christians can disagree with someone and still remain friends or associates. Because there’s no reason we can’t disagree with ideas without being disagreeable.

#NotAfraidToThink       #NotSheeple             #ChristiansHavePoliticalViewsToo

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