Updated: Nov 29, 2020
The old adage is true, “Christianity is more caught than taught.” That idea used to be a comfort to me. Now it scares me. I can’t tell you how many young men I meet with, who are alarmed that their Christian parents and many in the evangelical church’s behavior and values appear to be shaped more by Fox News, talk radio and the Presidents tweets, than by the Bible. They were raised on these words of Jesus;
“Blessed are the meek.” “Love your enemies.” “Blessed are the merciful.” “You are the light set on a hill.” “Turn the other cheek.” “Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”
Then they watch their parents cheering on commentators and politicians who appear to have absolutely no interest in these character qualities. And they are confused. And rightly so!
Let me be clear. I have been a life-long Republican. And when my party acts with civility and virtue of Ronald Regan and George W. Bush, they made me proud. Today I do not recognize many in my party. It isn’t my party’s platform I disagree with. And there are still some strong moral voices in Congress and in conservative media. But the loudest and most shrill voices are drowning them out. Many of them claim to be Christians, but you’d never recognize these virtues in their behavior.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, then you will see clearly the speck in your brother’s eye.” “Whoever humbles himself like a little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” “In as much as you did these things to the least of these, you did them to me.” “Be as wise as a serpent, but gentle as a dove.” “Love one another.”
“But CNN, the Democrats, and the liberal media are making war on our values,” they say, “and we have to fight back!”
Not according to Jesus.
Not once did Jesus or Paul rail against the government or non-Christians. The only anger either ever displayed was toward religious hypocrites who did not live out God’s laws, disobedient Christians, or false teachers. Never against the governing authorities or non-Christians.
Christians are called to fight with spiritual weapons, not ugly words.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
If we think we can live out the will of God by any other means other than acting like Jesus, then we don’t actually believe in Jesus. Either he was incredibly naïve or his commands weren’t meant for the present day, “battle for the soul of America.” I don’t expect non-Christians in the media to be “fair and balanced, or kind.” But I do expect all of those things from anyone who claims to be followers of Jesus. And when they are not, we should call them out and let our children know, “character counts.”
Your children and grandchildren are watching how you behave and who your heroes are.
Do you want your children to have the temperament of Hannity and Limbaugh, or Jesus? Then choose this day who you will admire more! Thomas Moore famously said, “Silence is consent.” What you do not say, or do not do, says something about you to your children.
So, how does that work in real life?
When you’re watching FOX or conservative talk radio, and you agree with their position, fine. But if they defend un-Christlike behavior in our leaders, tell your children you do not agree with that and why.
If either CNN or FOX tell outright lies or ignore other important facts, even if it hurts your party or position, tell your children when they’ve not reported with integrity.
When any network or politician tells a half-truth (true, but not the whole truth), call them out on it and tell your children the rest of the story.
Celebrate politicians or media people who are thoughtful and kind. Call out those who are arrogant, and shrill.
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:12
How following Jesus works in real life.
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