Last night, via social media, I engaged in conversation with some Americans. I spotted a response to an article in a magazine called Christianity Today and felt compelled to reply. The article was about last week’s invasion of Capitol Hill and the response was generally in favour of Trump and the ensuing melée. Many people challenged the response and I saw Christians arguing amongst themselves. It grieved me and my response was to encourage unity. I received favourable responses but it was clear they were filled with despair, people saying what else can we do, we’re fighting to preserve our way of life. I place the blame for this division at the feet of church leaders who have lost sight of their primary responsibility of caring for their flock. I’m reminded of something I read in the book of Ezekiel:
“This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.” (1)
If Christianity is to represent Christ as it should two things need to be in place:
“That the leaders took the lead in Israel, that the people offered themselves willingly, bless the LORD!” (2)
We need strong leadership and we need a willingness to put the cause of Christ above all else. Christians have to rise above, and stay separate, from the affairs of this world if we are to fulfil our primary purpose of showing the love of Christ. Jesus once told his disciples how they could be recognised by others. It had nothing to do with the clothes they were to wear, the food they were to eat, the politics they espoused, or the language they were to use. Jesus told them, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (3) Christians should be identifiable by the love they have for one another, a love that unites and is selfless in its devotion to others. Christians should be showing the love of Christ, who willingly offered his life as a sacrifice for sin because he loves this world so much. He loves me, he loves you, and he wants us to love each other.
To me this makes the Christian faith so attractive. It gives me a real purpose in life, that transcends worldly problems and allows me to focus my attention on man’s greatest problem, the problem of sin. We have all sinned, and having sin dealt with should be our greatest concern. It’s more important than who is President of the United States, it’s more important than Brexit, and more important than Covid, and I’m writing at a time when Covid is being described as ‘out of control’. Jesus died for our sins 2000 years ago and through exercising faith in him our sins can be forgiven. We just have to acknowledge that sin is a problem to us, say sorry for our sins and commit our lives to Jesus. It’s simple. There is no vaccine, no marching on government buildings, just an act of simple faith. You must be able to see that this world is a mess. Jesus brings life and hope and a positive way forward.
- Ezekiel 34:2-6
- Judges 5:2
- John 13:35