The Lord is at your right hand;
he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead
and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. Psalm 110:5-6
If you have been here at Church Whisperer very long at all, you already know I have some issues with what we call the “culture wars”. Specifically, I get a little twisted out of shape sometimes about the church’s role in those culture wars. Here is another angle on that issue. [RANT WARNING]
I wonder if those of us who expend an extraordinary amount of time and energy and resources on “fighting the culture wars”, i.e., engaged in heated debate with those outside the church over moral issues and trying to legislate morality so that non-Christians everywhere will start acting more like Christians,…I wonder if we have defined in our own minds what, exactly, “winning” this war would look like? What is the objective?
Is the objective to somehow force non-believers to act like believers, i.e., to conform to God’s standards of behavior irrespective of their beliefs about God? Is that a “win”? Or maybe the objective is just to have warned them in advance of their ultimate judgment, so that we have the satisfaction of being right, even when it means they suffer unspeakable judgment?
If it is the former, then I think you see the fallacy. Having a bunch of people walking around ACTING like Christians (conforming to God’s standards of behavior) will probably make for a more peaceful world in the short term, but it would do nothing to spare non-believers from the eternal fate which awaits them. If it is the latter, then we have a problem there as well. When we bash people over the heads with the truth, purely for the sake of winning the fight and being proclaimed right, that is no win at all. When, in our minds, the satisfaction of being right outweighs the horror of God’s judgment on this world, we have lost the most important part of what following Christ means.
When I read Psalm 110 and other scripture describing God’s judgment on a rebellious world, it is horrifying to me. It breaks my heart. When I think about friends (or even enemies, for that matter) who are rebellious toward God and who have little or no respect for His laws, it scares me to consider what awaits them ultimately. And when I stop and ask myself, “what does love look like?” with regard to them…arguing and fighting and going to war and spewing venomous words at them do not even make my radar screen as possible tacks to take. Going to war is not love, and there is no hint at all from Jesus or from any of his teachings that this revolution we call Christianity will be won by winning an argument or by the sway of political power or even by moral persuasion.
Rather, this is a revolution about love for people when it makes no sense to love…about showing grace when it makes no sense to show grace…and about forgiveness when it makes no sense to forgive. As “the church”, we are to keep one eye on Psalm 110 and the judgment which awaits our world and we are to love our lost and broken fellow human beings far too much to be at war with them, and thereby pushing them deeper and deeper into their rebellious positions.
So, what about your participation in the culture wars? Have you yet defined the win there? Is there even a win possible? Or is it time to abandon that front and start fighting in the Christian revolution instead?