By Danielle Hance
The Bible says our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual strongholds of evil (Ephesians 6:12). However, more and more, it seems like Christians are known for their attacks on those who don’t follow a “Christian” lifestyle.
As Christians, we should definitely be in the world and not of it, but that does not give us the right to tell anyone what to do, since we are all sinners in need of God’s forgiveness.
In the absence of sticks and stones, I believe words, Facebook rants, and protests can still have damaging effects on those inside and outside of the church. Here are five culture wars I believe Jesus wouldn’t fight.
It seems like most of the arguments for keeping refugees out center around keeping our country safe. However, Christians seem to forget Jesus was once a refugee from Israel, and that Jesus’ appearance might cause him to be racially profiled in today’s volatile, ISIS-rocked worked, and possibly even refused entry into our country.
Jesus says that whatever we did for the “least of these,” we did for him, and if all we are doing is trying to keep refugees out, we’re not exactly welcoming Jesus.
The idea of building a wall to keep out our southern neighbors has gained popularity this election season. However, the message of the gospel says Jesus came to destroy the dividing wall of hostility between Jews and Gentiles and make the two one. Throughout the Bible, the message of interdependence teaches us that looking out for each other’s well-being helps both of us. By working together to address immigration, cartels, and poverty, we can bring more health to both nations.
The “religious right” has become synonymous with Christian. However, Christians should remember Jesus was not a political leader. He was more concerned about reforming hearts than reforming policies.
For example, consider the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector. The experience with Jesus’ love and acceptance caused the short-statured man to give back what he had unjustly taken.
The Bible definitely values life in all of its stages (Psalm 139), and Jesus himself came into this world as an embryo, but how do we best stand for life?
Even in Jesus’ day, there were plenty of life-destroying practices, yet Jesus didn’t storm around with a sign in his hand. Rather, he took a stand to protect sinners who were being condemned. For example, he saved the life of the woman caught in adultery.
How could we save the lives of those who have or might have abortions? Perhaps the church could overcome evil with good by providing aftercare and investing resources in neighborhoods where abortions are commonplace.
Christians are divided on how to view deviation from heterosexual norms, and debates happen inside and outside the church. Regardless of our view of homosexuality and transgenderism, we need to approach the topics with caution and grace.
The LGBTQ community is a small and vulnerable group, and many of us who haven’t struggled with our sexual identity can’t relate to how they feel. But all of us struggle against sin, and we are called to extend love and grace to each other.
So how are Christians to respond to a world that seems to be becoming more and more un-Christian? Are we to just stand by on the sidelines?
I am not advocating for silence, but for love in relationship. If we are friends with “sinners,” the Holy Spirit living in us will help us to influence them, which often leads to repentance and change that doesn’t result from our judgment. That’s what Jesus did. When sinners experienced Jesus’ love, they chose to turn from their sin and follow him without our Lord needing to point it out.
The problem is when our words (or the words of the loudest voices who claim Christianity) cause those outside the church to avoid Christians. How then are we to love them?
Danielle Hance, a former missionary, is a preschool Spanish teacher, freelance writer, and translator residing in Minneapolis, Minnesota.