What Can We Do?
January 7, 2021 | Matt Nickoson
Yesterday evening I received multiple texts from friends asking for Prayer for our Nation. For those who don’t know me, I don’t care for the news too much anymore. Generally speaking, I am very concerned about the growing divide in our nation, and I am increasingly skeptical of major news sources and their agendas.
I did, however, know yesterday was a big day from a political perspective, and I knew of the various concerns nationally related to the Electoral Votes and protests coming on Capitol Hill. Sadly, I predicted wrong.
I had hoped that the New Year would bring a change in the way we are handling this growing divide. I had hoped that yesterday would see peaceful protests that are a staple of our Nation. I had hoped those protests would see people on both sides of the political spectrum represented. In my opinion, peaceful protests are part of what makes our country great.
Even within my church, there are a wide range of political perspectives and persuasions. It’s rare for even one Sunday to pass without one extreme or another expressing frustration with me for not saying more about their side of the argument. One week I am asked to call out election fraud, and the next to call out the fake news about election fraud. Sometimes those people capture me 10 feet apart in the hallway.
Week after week I say the same thing to anyone who asks: We are a church that is super concerned with lifting up the name of Jesus every single week. That is our highest priority and that is our highest goal. We do not preach a political agenda, and it’s not because we are concerned with ostracizing one side over the other – it’s because we believe the ultimate solution is Jesus Himself.
However, as yesterday’s events unfolded I felt this increasing burden to speak up. Reading the latest updates across the internet, I learned that last night the Vice President was evacuated, Congress ran to safety as windows were broken and intruders pushed their way into the government halls, one lady (a Veteran of our Armed Forces) was shot and killed, and three others died.
My Brothers and Sisters, this should NOT be. This is a new low in the history of the United States of America. It is a tragic, embarrassing, and extremely saddening event for us all. As a result, people are legitimately afraid, confused, and anxious now more than ever.
There are going to be strong political disagreements among Americans, and even among Christians. If all of these issues were easy, there would be a lot more unity among us all.
The hard reality is that political issues are complex without easy answers.
The spiritual reality behind all of this is that we have a common enemy who wants nothing more than to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10).
The sad reality is that we are letting him win.
I am a Christian, and I am a pastor. I am writing this to my church and those who look to me to discern the Word of God for them and point them to passages that guide them. I also want to call us to action. To that end, the following is the wisdom I believe God has shown me to share with you, followed by a Call to Action:
- What happened yesterday is Evil and not an acceptable way to handle disagreements before God. No matter your political persuasion, as Christians we must agree with God that physical violence, acts of terrorism, intimidation, manipulation, curses, and/or threats are evil and not ok. Not only that but when we resort to violence to solve our problems – it only creates more violence.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. – James 3:13-16 NIV
“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword." – Matthew 26:52 NIV
- Every Human Being is worthy of honor, respect, and dignity. God created every human being – regardless of race, language, gender, status, political persuasion, or creed – in His own image. Therefore, when we speak, write, talk to, or discuss events and people – we will do so with language that does NOT denigrate or tear down another made in His image. No matter how funny we think it is or how well the comment/meme/joke/story aligns with our perspective on issues. Resist the urge!
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. – James 3:9-10 NIV
- Speak the truth in love, because what unites us is far more important than what divides us. I want to be careful here. I am not suggesting that we suddenly change God’s standards of right and wrong in order to “get along”. I am only asking that we seek to be unified with God in bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth. The Church needs to be holy and to call evil what it is, especially inside its walls. Anyone who calls themselves a Christian but engages in blatant unrepentant sin needs to be LOVINGLY confronted. If they refuse, we are told not to even associate with them. However, when we are dealing with people outside the walls of the church we should not expect them to agree with us on what is right, moral, and good. When you must disagree over a clear Biblical truth – always do it in love. If you are unsure if it is a clear Biblical truth – seek wisdom and don’t speak about it until you are. Your opinion on every subject is irrelevant and often hurtful.
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” 1Corinthians 4:9-13 NIV
- Be Peacemakers who fight for peace. It’s not always easy to fight for peace when you feel attacked, cheated, or “done wrong” in some way or another. Nevertheless, we worship Jesus. While beaten and crucified he prayed for those who killed him, refusing to spew venom on them. Being a peacemaker takes hard work and discernment. If nothing else, it means not pouring gasoline on a fire. Resist the urge to like, share, or comment on social media about posts that are inflammatory by nature. If someone shares gossip or an opinion with you – let it die with you. Be the last person to hear it. Lastly, if it isn’t helpful for the building up of others – by ALL means necessary – don’t say it!
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – Matthew 5:9
Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. – Matthew 12:25 NIV
If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. - Galatians 5:15 NIV
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. – James 3:17-18 NIV
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Ephesians 4:29
Call To Action:
Remember, Jesus told the Disciples “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Our greatest hope for a real and satisfying life is found in Christ alone. I want to call anyone who reads this to repent, fast, and pray.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV
Every Tuesday of this month I am asking you to Repent, Fast, and Pray. You may skip one meal or the whole day. Repent for our nation. Repent for your own sins. Then ask God to heal our nation, our churches, and our world. Ask Him to give us grace to forgive each other, and to be unified under God’s leadership. Ask for wisdom for our newly elected officials to lead us in a way that is pleasing to God. Ask for us to discern how to honor them, without dishonoring God. Ask for unity in our church, and justice for all the oppressed.
May 2021 be the year we experience Life that is truly Life.
Kingsway Christian Church