In recent times I have found I have really questioned my identity as a Christian – and it isn’t easy. Firstly, am I a right wing conservative like the media like to portray me? Well yes in some instances I am. I hold to moral absolutes, I believe in sex only within marriage and I believe that an individual must ultimately own up to their own choices. Sounds right wing?
On the other end of the spectrum I support the rights of women, I believe we should radically care for the poor, the marginalized (and yes the refugee) and I hold that there should be a respect and freedom for all religion in society. So does that make me a left winger?
The answer in my view is that a Christian is neither left nor right. I also don’t believe we find the perfect spot in the middle. Instead we are a totally different breed who follow the lead of Jesus and encompass love and truth in their fullness at the same time. This is what makes it so difficult for the world to understand us. However this should not surprise us.
In 1 Peter 2:9:11 Peter tells us that we are to live as, “….. as foreigners and exiles…” Think what that means. A foreigner or an exile in our own country live here but are always viewed with intrigue, confusion and sometimes suspicion.
The danger for us in this present time is that we either seek complete acceptance or we totally and angrily reject the world around us. Neither approach is an option. New York Minister Tim Keller in a great sermon on this topic points out that that the first approach will cause us to throw out all truth under the guise of love in order to be accepted while the second approach causes us to take the angry, judgmental and adversarial approach to this world that we are actually called to love.
So, in my view we are called to a radical gospel of both love and truth that, surprise surprise, causes us to be unjustly judged – just like the foreigner and exile. So let’s not fret at the state of affairs. Neither Waleed Aly or Andrew Bolt have all the answers (however both may have something important to hear). Come what may we turn to our heavenly Father who is more than enough for our need for love, vindication and acceptance.
I love how the Message version of the bible puts 1 Peter 2:13-17 “Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.”