March 29, 2012
What does respect mean, especially in the context of our being a "Christian nation" and the exercising of our democratic rights in this particular season? We, as a people, have always had a problem drawing a line between our intentions and motives as we exercise what we claim to be "God-given discernment" in our dealings with each other; especially in our political forays.
It has been convenient for the voting population to divide the political landscape into political camps, that of the godly and ungodly. We have one political leader to whom we have ascribed a form of Christianity to and another who we see as godless. Ironically, if the men were to be judged by what they have said and done over the years, the godless leader would come out ahead. I was thinking of this just this morning as the "Nobody greater issue" surfaced again. If Hubert Ingraham is as godless as his opponents claim, he would have basked in the adulation that the song ascribed to him. But he got on the radio station the next day and made it very clear that a mistake was made. However, that news did not reach the other stations. If it did, it was not broadcast.
Was it convenient to let the perception continue? Probably. But if this is so, it brings up the issue and question of motive: how we present ourselves and how we present others, especially as some of us claim to speak for God, represent God, and claim to know beyond a shadow of a doubt what is on his mind?
Why is this a problem? It does not seem like a problem. But for those people who are making particular claims for God and what He expects from us and others, it gets complicated. It is not about what we claim, it is about the issue of motive. There is a scene in the book of Matthew chapter seven where the parameters for judgement are being laid out and if you read verses 21 to 23, it is apparent that the judgement comes not because of what is done "in His name", but the motive for what is done and the motive for doing should be grounded in the fact that "He knows us".
"On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did not we prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do mighty works in your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness'".
This political season will be constantly punctuated by pastors, politicians and church folk getting on a particular side of the political divide and their utterances and numerous involvements will give a watching public reason for pause. Some of us are thankful that this activity only happens every five years, but I am not sure that all of the participants, especially us "Christian folk", are aware of some of the long-term consequences -- consequences and judgements that are clearly stated in that book we carry under our arms on Sunday.
- Edward Hutcheson
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