What if your side wins a culture war political battle?
How we determine the greatest needs of our families, our friends, our neighbors, our communities and our world, depends on what we believe matters most. When Christians decide that what matters most is power to change the here and now, it changes perspective.
There’s no question that the Lord Jesus asks us to stand for and even work toward righteousness and justice in our world. I embrace that responsibility wholly. Just a few years ago I led Church of the Open Door to a renewed awareness of Jesus’ love for the overlooked and overwhelmed in our society. We and our missionaries heartily accept our responsibility to not only share the message of the gospel but to also live out the gospel in a needy and unjust world. I also remind our flock of our privilege to vote for righteousness and justice.
Still, here are some questions that haunt me as I consider the core brokenness of our lives, our cultures, and our world:
- When the judges have all been appointed and the lawsuits have ended, what then? The very best we can hope for is outside control of evil and the temporary rescue of generational dysfunction and brokenness. Only faith in Christ can change a life on the inside in ways that bring sustaining hope to a people.
- When the schools have all been reoriented and the curricula have been sensitized to God’s eternal truth, what then? Classrooms will still be full of rebellious hearts. Only God’s Spirit can internalize the Word of God.
- When the wars have all been fought, the soldiers have all come home and the suffering is over, what then? Jesus Himself told us that the peace couldn’t last. Only in His Kingdom will the world know lasting peace.
- When the votes have all been counted and even if our side (whether conservative or progressive) wins, what then? Each and every man and woman, boy and girl who has lived in the most righteous nation in history who has not heard and believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ will soon return to the trajectory of their lives toward self-destruction and the collateral impact on their loved ones and culture. And then,when they die, they will slip into the darkness of a godless eternity.
I agree with C. S. Lewis who said, “a sick society must think about politics, as a sick man must think about his digestion.” (The Weight of Glory, p. 109) And I agree with Christian leaders who tell Christians to think about politics in our sick society.
I just think we’ve been thinking about politics too much. It’s time to think a little less about our power to make a difference in this world and a lot more about our influence to make a difference by living out the gospel today as we look forward to the world to come.
Our confusion of influence and power dissipates our energy and focus. It also distills our message, but not in a good way. ⇦Tweet that!
But that’s the subject of the next blog.
Question: How can I help you discern the difference between cultural power and influence in your own life?