It's been said the two topics we should avoid around the family reunion dinner table are politics and religion. Of course, I disagree, but the point is well taken.
It's nothing new that people tend to be more passionate about their political and spiritual positions than they are about guarding the hearts of the people with whom they are debating. Sadly this reality has reared its extremely ugly head again and again over the last year.
Have we forgotten the three primary reasons we are alive? I'll give you a hint. It's not to debate politics, and it's not to save America.
1. Love God: "Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (Matt. 22:37–39).
2. Love people: "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).
3. Evangelize: "But be self-controlled in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, and prove your ministry" (2 Tim. 4:5).
Yes, there are many expressions of love including both tough and tender, but we need to understand that blaming and shaming our enemies are excluded. Anger expressed toward the liberal left will never win them to Jesus.
We Also Can't Avoid Politics
Preachers avoiding politics from behind the pulpit and keyboard is like a police officer refusing to confront crime. It makes no sense. The police are authorized to make arrests, and Christians are authorized to tear down strongholds.
We as Christians have been granted a level of spiritual authority that few will ever grasp. When culture is steeped in wickedness, we have no option but to expose the darkness.
"And do not have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; instead, expose them" (Eph. 5:11).
Unrighteous laws, widespread corruption, the darkness of immorality and national evils must be dealt with, and Christians are those who are most authorized to do so.
Silence by passive preachers is a violation just as a fleshly, carnal response is. There's a way to move in love and honor while bringing dangerous political and cultural agendas to light. To stay silent on the issue of abortion, for example, would be inexcusable. To spew venom toward those who affirm or even administer abortion would be equally inappropriate for followers of Jesus.
The Greater Sin
While avoiding the spiritual clash in today's deeply wicked society is unfathomable, my opinion is that the greater sin is a wicked reaction guised in high-minded righteousness by believers in Jesus.
We must be aggressive with issues and tender toward people.
My heart is broken over the lack of revival in Hollywood, Nashville and Washington, D.C. I think about people like Nancy Pelosi, Jim Carrey, Ellen Degeneres, Taylor Swift, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Alyssa Milano and hundreds of other influencers who are attacked non-stop by Christians because of their political positions.
Will they feel love by our mean-spirited assaults of righteous indignation? No.
I may write a separate article on this issue as it's just wrecking my heart, but suffice it to say that I'm deeply grieved that so few celebrities and national leaders are falling in love with Jesus. Church, we are not handling their hearts well. Demonizing them will not win them.
Our Love for One Another
Rude, snarky and unloving behavior among Christians thrives on social media.
The moment a Christian is condescending and divisive on a Facebook thread is the moment their credibility is shot. While I understand we are living in a different era, there's a part of me that yearns for yesteryear when "yes sirs" and "yes ma'ams" were indicative of respect in our culture.
Today it's normal for followers of Jesus to attack, shame and ridicule anybody who disagrees with their viewpoints, especially when it comes to politics and religion. Many are unteachable, stone-hearted, immovable and more in love with their ideals then the people they are dialoguing with.
At the end of the day, I don't care who the president is if we can't discuss and debate with love and honor.
The Blame Game Is Strong This Year
Possibly the best litmus test for spiritual health and maturity when it comes to politics and culture is blame. If we lash out and blame and accuse and attack others who believe differently than we do, we are not in a good place.
The moment we blame is the moment we create unnecessary division. We need to stop blaming President Biden, Trump, teachers, parents and others who, in our opinion, are opposing our personal agendas or beliefs, no matter how righteous those beliefs are.
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you" (Matt. 5:44).
Don't blame. Love. Pray. Don't be an angry, complaining victim. Go low. Humble yourself. Serve. Contend for the souls of those who are making your life difficult. Again, be ruthless on issues and loving toward people.
There's a better way, friends. Being mean-spirited isn't it. Blaming doesn't help. Shaming is simply cruel. People are more valuable than positions and agendas. Our enemies should be blessed and prayed for more than our friends.
The lyrics of a quirky and boldly honest bluegrass gospel song by Rhonda Vincent seem to fit here:
If you don't love your neighbor
If you gossip about him, if you never have mercy
If he gets into trouble, and you don't try to help him
Then you don't love your neighbor
And you don't love God
One more time: Deal strongly with issues, and go out of your way to make sure people feel the love of Jesus. As we do this, we can most certainly hate evil, love good and establish justice in our nation.
"Hate evil and love good, and establish justice at the gate" (Amos 5:15).
For the original article, visit thestream.org.
John Burton is a sought-out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. He has authored ten books, is a regular contributor to Charisma Magazine and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. He has planted two churches and has initiated two city prayer movements and a school of ministry.
Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 25 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored ten books, is a regular contributor to Charisma Magazine, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. A large and growing library of audio and video teachings, articles, books and other resources can be found on his website at www.burton.tv. John, his wife Amy and their five children live in Branson, Missouri.
To contact us or to submit an article, click here.
Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.
Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!
- Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
- Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
- God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
- Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
- HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!
Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details