A Kingdom Not of This World

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

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14 responses to “A Kingdom Not of This World

  1. Pingback: October 2012 Synchroblog – Politics and Faith … What do you think? Link List « synchroblog·

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  5. “Imagine if the Christians in this country stopped fighting to make America more Christian, but instead worked to make the Church more Christian.”
    I am trying, but it is quite a reach. We love to divert attention and blame others.

  6. “Don’t like the way other people view marriage? Make your marriage an example of holiness.” What a great challenge. And what a needed reminder. I do think we need to invest in the political process, and to wrestle with the systems and structures that cause harm and hold people in poverty, but I agree completely that the kingdom of heaven is not of this world, and our loyalty and hope will never be fulfilled by a political party or nation.

  7. Pingback: We The People | Wendy McCaig·

  8. Jareth – I am with you – I am sick of Christians in the U.S. acting like the U.S. is the Kingdom of Heaven. Like you said “It never has been and it never will be.” I don’t have a problem with Christians allowing their faith to influence how they vote but it seems that when religion and politics are mixed too much and too often it ends up doing more harm than good.

  9. Jareth – I also meant to say that I was so glad that you contributed to this month’s synchroblog. Would you please be so kind as to add a note that your post is part of the synchroblog and add the list of contributors to the end of your post (this is what we ask of synchroblog participants). Here is the link to the list of contributors http://synchroblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/october-2012-synchroblog-politics-and-faith-what-do-you-think-link-list/

  10. Jareth, there is a lot about this post I really agree with. Like you, I wish Christians would stop trying to remake the world in our image. With morality, I think that laws are some of the least effective ways to encourage good behavior anyway.

    But I do worry a bit that we could treat this like an either/or situation. It is one thing to say people should work to fight poverty on a local level. They should; I do. BUt there is a limit to my and everyone else’s resources, what people will give up voluntarily. And there’s also a problem with relying on donations and charity to correct fundamental problems of justice. Government and law can give people the tools to make sure everyone has the resources they need to live the good life. And so I’d encourage Christians to get involved politically as well as help out in their communities.

    Just, you know, not the way we’ve been doing it so far. 😉

  11. Thanks everyone for you comments. I would like to say that I don’t think we as Christians should just abandon politics altogether, just that we shouldn’t try to force everyone to live like us through laws. I do strongly believe in leadership by example. If I don’t like the way I see something being done, I try and do it better myself. That is how we become the light of the world, and we will draw others to us.

  12. I loved the column. I feel very strongly that Christians are wasting time fighting for the wrong kingdom. The Kingdom of God is here. Bring it to your house, your neighborhood by being like Jesus. I grieve for friends of mind who are wasting so much energy over whether we elect the African American or the man with the goofy underwear.

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