When Pilot was questioning Jesus he asked him if he was the king of the Jews, to which Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it was my followers would be fighting for me.” I wish more people would remember that before they try to mix their religion and politics.
Jesus was not very political. As the Messiah, he was expected to overthrow the Romans and set up a new Kingdom of Israel. Of course, he didn’t do either. He even said you should pay the Roman taxes! Jesus seldom did what was expected of him. No, Jesus spent his time with the weightier aspects of the law; forgiveness and mercy. Again, I wish Christians in America would keep that in mind.
In my opinion we should follow Jesus’s example. America is obviously not the Kingdom of Heaven. It never has been and it never will be. Why do so many Christians act as though it was? Like everything was perfect until, I don’t know, the sixties happened and suddenly the armies of Hell invaded. Now they are in “tribulation mode,” ready to fight to save their ideal Kingdom that has been sullied, lest the wrath of God come upon us.
Both history and scripture teach us that all this is transitory. Kingdoms come and go. The only thing eternal is God. As Christians we should all understand that ultimately God is in charge. That he will take all our horrible mistakes and bring something good out of it. That’s what he does. Take the crucifixion. We, humans, killed God. We nailed him to a cross and left him to die. What did he do with that? The Resurrection. He brought life out of death and saved us all. He took the worst thing that we have ever done in our history and turned it into the best thing. That is what he does. That is grace.
The Kingdom of Heaven is not of this world. If it were we would fight for it. Do you really believe that God wants us to fight over Heaven? We should stop all the debating and arguing. So much energy is wasted in trying to force everyone to live the way we think they should. Conversion by force never works and that is all Christians are doing when they try to created laws based on their world view. Instead we could be leading by example. If you don’t like the way something is being done in the world, do it better. You don’t think the government is doing enough for the poor? Go volunteer at a shelter or a soup kitchen. Don’t like the way other people view marriage? Make your marriage an example of holiness. I know it is easier to be angry and self righteous, but Jesus never said it would be easy.
Imagine if the Christians in this country stopped fighting to make America more Christian, but instead worked to make the Church more Christian. Perhaps then people would stop leaving the Church. Maybe they would stop seeing Christians as holier-than-thou pricks. Jesus said that we should be the light of the world, but how bright is that light shinning in America right now. The Romans who were hunting Christians were told they would know us by our love. They showed so much love that they stood out from everyone around them. It should be the same now. We should be a people set apart, not by our distain for anyone not in our group, but by the love that we have for them.
This post is part of the Faith and Politics Synchroblog.