This afternoon on Facebook, someone informed me that I represent everything that's wrong with Christianity.
Serves me right for trying to argue about faith and politics on Facebook, especially with someone I don't know (a friend of a friend, to be precise). I've been on there long enough to know that such conversations never end well, or at least, extremely rarely.
I had been trying to make a point about the double standard that Christians, especially conservative Christians, have to deal with when it comes to the media and politics. Anything we do wrong gets shouted from the housetops; anything our opponents do wrong gets buried. But as I've been learning, leftists really, REALLY do not like to hear about the double standard.
My debate partner, though I didn't tell him this, demonstrated my point for me nicely. He believed that should be allowed to say whatever he wanted about me, my faith, and my politics; I should not be allowed to say anthing negative about his views. Hello, double standard. I would have loved to challenge his thinking, but I didn't. Because what good would a challenge do to someone who is already convinced, before I speak, that I have nothing worthwhile to say?
But in a world full of people who think that way about Christians -- and especially in a world where politicans gain widespread approval by pandering to that mentality -- it's easy to feel silenced, marginalized, and utterly ineffective. And that's not a great feeling. The good news is, we were forewarned -- and given the remedy.
"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." John 15:18-19 (NKJV)
"But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you." Luke 6:27-28
Jesus knew all about what we would face, and He told us what to do. They will hate you. Love them.
They will hate you. Forgive them.
They will hate you. Bless them, and pray for them, and know that they are fellow creatures made in the image of God, who loves them.
Seems like it would be a lot easier -- not to mention a lot more fun -- just to remake the world in our own theological and political image instead. And as long as we keep a good, wise, humble perspective and make sure our goals line up with God's will, we're allowed to try to accomplish political goals for the common good of our society. But our power, in human terms, is severely limited. We won't ever be as effective as we want to in that arena. Yet in another arena -- the one to which every Christian is called -- God grants us power to achieve a goal that in this cultural climate seems all but impossible: to love our enemies.
We will never be able to make life fair. But living in the midst of unfairness, we can still change the world.