I know I should probably open my bible in the morning before I open my laptop, but that’s not my morning routine. Get up, get a coffee, flip open the laptop and check out the latest headlines on my news feed, open my bible, open my reading app, proceed to engage with the living word of God. That’s how I roll most mornings.
So, something I read in my bible this morning is providing a filter for what greeted me this morning on my screen — a blue and red line with a big blue and red number on either side indicating a standing against that magic number 270. But the numbers that come to mind as read in 1 John aren’t the numbers above the line, it’s the small numbers below the line, the popular vote. It’s a tight-race, a real barn burner. Gonna be a photo finish, looks like. Right now there’s half the votes (and a smidgen) on the blue side and, essentially, half the votes on the red. And you know that there are believers –real believers convinced before God they have stewarded their vote properly — on both sides. So, with that in mind, I’m chewing on these words:
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. . . We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
(1John 3:11, 14-16 ESV)
Doesn’t matter what side of the line we’re on, what color we’re painted by the world, at some point, when a call’s been made, the church on this side needs to look over at the church on the other side and ask itself, What do I see? How should I react? What should it look like going forward?
The message that we have heard from before democracy was even a thing, or before any ideological positions became so entrenched, is that we should love another. To not do so is to abide in death, to live as though we were never born again.
I don’t need to agree with my brother or sister, but I do need to love them. Not just with obligatory phileo love, brotherly love, but with all-in, give myself wholly agape love, sacrificial love. With a love modeled after the One who laid down His life for us. So, regardless of what end of the spectrum I position myself, I need to look to the other end, love my brother, be ready to lay down my life for my sister.
The world’s not gonna do that after this election. If we follow it’s lead, not only will we be part of what I fear will be a serious problem, but we’ll deny our claim that the kingdom of heaven transcends the kingdom of men. What’s more we’ll dim our light that is so needed in this dark place. We’ll cover up our saltiness in a land that not only needs preservation, but someone to model what flavorful life, life to the full, really looks like.
We should love one another . . . we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers . . .
Regardless of what color the world paints us. Regardless of who wins or loses.
We should love one another. It’s the message modeled on the cross of Christ. It’s the message we’ve heard from the beginning. It’s the message that, if we’ll believe it, will serve us well unto the end.
Tangible evidence before a lost world of the impact of His abundant grace.
Tested and proven true by our King for God’s eternal glory.
Reminds me of the time several years ago when Elaine & I took a year’s sabbatical (on the road seven and a half months) mostly stateside. We were at a large Baptist church in Nashville the weekend after President Obama was elected for his second term (over Mitt Romney I think). Attending church every Sunday wherever we were was a highlight for us. So, we were in the adult Sunday School class. I have never seen a more somber group of people in my life (think 45 people in a room and everyone’s dog has just died). It was as if the great tribulation had begun and everyone there was a disappointed pre-tribber. Did God really know what He was doing? Nice people, believers, but very glum. Fast forward a week or two and we were in the adult Sunday School class at Dexter Avenue Baptist church in Montgomery Alabama (Martin Luther King Jr’s old church). I think we were the only whites there. We were met at the door by an old black man named Socrates and his wife taught the class. It was like a night and day difference between here and Nashville. Everyone was elated, they were praising the Lord for His wisdom and blessings toward them in the results of the election! Two groups of believers in the same all-wise, loving God, with two very different responses to the same event. So, you are right, as was John and Jesus, we need to love one another and be living examples of God’s love and grace! Best Blessings and know that we are praying for you!