Thursday, September 29, 2016
Jesus Was Neither A Pacifist, Nor A Peacenik and Christians Aren't Called To Be Either
"But woe unto you, scribes, and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay the tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgement, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." Matthew 23:23.
Matthew 23 records Jesus using the phrase, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!..." no less than SEVEN times (:13, :14, :15, :23, :25, :27 and :29). Prior to that, Matthew (21:12-13) records Jesus entering the Temple and turning over the tables of the money changers and sellers of doves and casting them out, because they had made it a "den of thieves".
For several days following that event, as Jesus preached and taught among the crowds, the Pharisees tried to trip him up, plotting against him. Jesus knew their intent. He didn't 'turn the other cheek' or ask them nicely to stop and sit down and listen, he lectured them pointedly over the course of the chapter (23:1-39) - not only referring to them as "hypocrites" - but children of hell, fools, serpents, vipers, and whited sepulchres (pretty corpses) labeling them as full of iniquity.
Gosh. That doesn't sound like the Jesus of Matthew 22:37-39; the man explaining to us that the greatest commandment is to love God with "all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind" and "thy neighbor as thy self", does it? It certainly doesn't fit with the model
Christian socialists want us to have of Jesus; that of flowing haired hippy who wants nothing more than "Peace, dude".
Though Jesus was love and preached that we should love one another, he was full of righteous anger for those who would make his followers stumble in their walk. He was particularly incensed that the Pharisees would not only preach one thing and do another, but that they would teach their own version of the Bible, misleading their students and preventing them from entering his Kingdom.
Many times in my writing I am blunt in my assessments of the behaviors and actions of others - particularly those in seats of government. While it is true Solomon tells us "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger" (Proverbs 15:1), I believe it absolute necessity to speak truth and sometimes that isn't pretty and can't be couched in pretty terms.
Several times this week I have posted articles to my Facebook page including my associated blunt comments on the topic.
One, about the responsibility young women have of remaining chaste until marriage, was particularly so, yet none the less accurate.
This, and several others, have received few "likes", but the new picture of my husband and I, recently posted to update my Facebook profile picture, was 'liked' nearly 90 times.
It is true - our only allegiance is to the Lord - but, as I've said before, our job as followers - as self-proclaimed Christians - is to spread the gospel and OCCUPY until He comes.
How do you 'occupy'? I would argue vehemently, not from our easy chairs - not by allowing evil to win without uttering even a whisper in defense of good. Sometimes that defense is not PC. Sometimes truth hurts.
I think of all the Christians who simply sang louder as the cattle cars bearing Jews rattled down the tracks for the slaughter houses of the Third Reich - I think of all the Christians who can't discuss abortion in their churches because dead babies make people uncomfortable - I think of all the Christians who would rather shop at Target because of convenience or because they have cute clothes, rather than avoid giving business to a company who actively seeks to undermine Christian principles and the family.
Soon, Christians will be forced to pick a side - it's inevitable - it's prophetic. I'm not saying we must all be as blunt as I can be in the course of that action, but none of us can hide behind a picture of "hippy Jesus" and refuse to act or speak out against tyranny because we're not imparting the 'love' of Christ. Truth is love. Jesus wasn't trying to love the Pharisees into salvation by berating them, he was berating them out of love for the listeners who, hearing this condemnation, would be made to see beyond their falsities to the true path of salvation through Christ himself.