Many states have finished their primary elections. As this is written, a few are still going on, including Texas where we vote on May 27. The onslaught of commercials attacking each other in the run-offs have been horrible. Then millions of dollars spent used to body slam an opponent that would go a long way toward helping the needy, is sickening.
These people, who may have at one time supported the person they are now running against are blasting the other for this or that issue, cause, voting record or transgression. The most offensive aspect of all this is yet to come, when they will all suddenly become friends on whatever side of the political fence they sit. There they will rally behind the one chosen in their specific primary to run against the candidate from the other party in the main elections.
I recall the trash talk in the campaigns of then Senator Barak Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and even Comedian Stephen Colbert as they all were vying for the presidential nomination in 2008. There were many derisive cutthroat things said. But then, as they withdrew one by one, they were all buddy-buddy. And how much did they spend? To get elected – President Obama, over 750 million dollars, for just the primaries another 85 million. Clinton – 106 million. Edwards – 36.4 million and Biden a mere 9.5 million. (Colbert spent $2,500.) Most of these monies were so they could speak negatively about their opposition.
The church seems to operate in that same way far too often. We are better known for what we are against, than for what we confess. If you are Baptist, you’re against infant baptism. If you are Lutheran, you’re against open communion. If you are Catholic, you’re against birth control. If you are Pentecostal, you’re against wearing makeup. The list goes on. However, once you come over to “our” way of thinking, then all that past animosity we may have shared is suddenly forgotten as we rally together against someone else.
Jesus did speak about things that He was against. But, more of His focus was on what He was for, the forgiveness of sins. Speaking the Law is important, but not as important as assuring people of the truth of the Gospel. Jesus came to bring forgiveness to a people who could not earn it for themselves, no matter what their works, doctrines or practices might be. He said “Believe in Me,” “Abide in Me,” “Follow Me”. Not once did Jesus say you have to know so many doctrines, memorize so many passages of Scripture, answer so many questions, or a host of other things that churches tend to require for one to be considered part of their fellowship. He did say, “he who believes and is baptized will be saved,” “he who endures will be saved” and “Your faith has saved you.”
How many things must we agree on to acknowledge each other’s salvation. Per the Bible’s own words “Salvation belongs to our God,” and “No one comes to the Father except through Me (Jesus).” So it is not a church, or a certain catechesis, or denominational affiliation that makes one holy, sanctifies one’s life, or guarantees their name is in the Book of Life.” Yet we argue and look at each other with mistrust.
Oh for the day when we (all those who have faith in Jesus) are together in the glories of heaven and finding ourselves suddenly in agreement and support for one another. That day when we are all on the same side, Jesus’ side, and we remember that it is about Him and not us or our understanding anyway. Last I read, He “Jesus” is still “the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
What are you for or against? I’m for Jesus, that means I’m forgiven and I’m saved. It doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say.