“Basket of deplorables”
and the list goes on and on and on...
The presidential election was characterized by name calling that belittled and despised opponents. Sadly, it seems that the seal has been broken.
The day after the election, democrats crowded the streets shouting “F- - - Trump!” Trump supporters scrawled “F- - - N - - -rs “whitesonly #trump” across a bathroom stall in a high school. Grade school students arrived at their largely latino school the day after the election to see “Build the wall higher!” spray painted on a wall. After this election its apparently permissible to hate and belittle our fellow american citizens.
What about for dual citizens?
In the last blog post I discussed the fact that true Christians are dual citizens, having citizenship both in the United States of America and in heaven. They are called to be loyal to their country, but also to Christ.
This means that Christians will not share all of the same values as their fellow Republicans and Democrats. In fact, it ought to mean that a Republican Christian and a Democrat Christian will have more in common with one another than with their political party. Really? Absolutely. Jesus said that his kingdom is so different from this world that it is “not of this world” (John 18:36).
One thing that will characterize Christians in our present culture of name calling is a commitment to bless those they are tempted to despise.
In my own life, I’m amazed at how quickly I can slide down the slippery slope from disagreeing . . . to disliking . . . to despising. Have you noticed the same tendency in your own life?
Jesus calls his followers to resist this slippery slope and do the very opposite of despising. He says, “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28). As others in America belittle their opposition, Christians are called to bless their opposition.
How is this possible?
Let’s be honest, it isn’t easy. It takes a fundamental reorientation in our view of ourselves and others. The only way to keep from despising others with whom we disagree is to neither think too much of ourselves and too little of them, nor think so little of ourselves that we feel the need to cut them down. Its a balance. And that balance is achieved through the message of Jesus called the gospel.
Tim Keller captures the truth of the gospel that turns us from despisers to blessers when he writes:
"The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less."
Do you see how this truth empowers Christians to resist the temptation to despise others and actually begin to bless them?
When the message of Jesus penetrates your heart the motives to despise others begin to drain out. We can no longer look down our nose at others. Not at Clinton, not at Trump. Not at democrats, not at republicans. Not at the wealthy, not at the poor. Not at black people, not at white people. Not at immigrants, not a foreigners. Everyone is a marvelous creation of God equally in need of his grace.
This gospel truth ought to result in Christians who stand out in the present climate of bigotry by their uncanny ability to bless those with whom they disagree.
So, what would it look like today to bless someone whom you are tempted to despise?
Answer that question, then go do it, and you will be a faithful dual citizen.
BLOG SERIES OUTLINE
- Dual citizenship means blessing those we’re tempted to despise
- Dual citizenship means seeking peace in the midst of our country’s divisions
- Dual citizenship means loving our neighbor even when we disagree
Blog written by Ben Joyce: a neighbor in Walnut Creek and member of Soma Community Church.