We are living through perilous and paralyzing times as a nation, with a dangerous crises of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches. We believe the soul of the nation and the integrity of faith are now at state. It is time to be followers of Jesus Christ before anything else: nationality, political party, race, ethnicity, or gender. Our integrity in Jesus Christ must proceed every other identity. The call to follow Jesus Christ means that we are called to be the best version of ourselves that we can be.
We pray that our nation will see Jesus Christ through us as His followers. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another,” John 13:35. When politics undermines our theology, we must examine ourselves. The church’s role is to change the world through the life and love of Jesus Christ—not the world changing the church. The government’s role is to serve the common good of mankind by promoting justice and peace, rewarding good behavior while restraining bad behavior. When Christian theology is undermined by political leadership, faith leaders must stand up and speak out. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.”
It is the duty of the Christian leader, especially the pastor, to speak the truth of love to all and to come against evil and warn God’s people against temptations, racial and culture captivities, false doctrines, and political idolatries. We do this with humility, prayer, and a deep dependency on the grace and the Holy Spirit of God.
As followers of Jesus, we choose to live our lives with Christ at the center. As the church, we gather, pray, worship God, sing, read scripture together and share in the Holy Sacrament. Together we proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord.
What does that really mean for our daily lives? Who is Jesus Christ in your life? What does our loyalty to Christ as disciples require of us? Are we a people of respect? Do we respect each person we meet and take the time to truly consider what they are going through and saying? Do we stand for Jesus Christ at all times? Do we pay attention to people feelings and thoughts giving voice only to help and not hurt? Do we practice forgiveness seeking to forgive and forget the hurt and pain from others? Do we suspend judgment? Seeking to love and not condemn? “Don’t judge others, and God wont judge you. God will be as hard on you as you are on others! He will treat you exactly as you treat them,” Matthew 7:1-2.
I invite you to take a few moments to ask yourself if you are truly a follower of Jesus Christ. Do you truly represent the body of Christ? Do you show the love of God to every person you come into contact with? If so, then “Let your light so shine before men that they should see your good works and glorify the Father which is in heaven,” Matthew 5:16.