It is time for Christians to stop thinking like politicians, to stop attempting to effect change in our culture through political legislation and activism, and to start loving people. If the values in American society are crumbling it is because people have turned away from God and embraced Secular Humanism—and this problem, the hardening of man’s heart against God, will not be solved through polemics and legislation. We can rally together at Chick-fil-A, draw a line in the sand, and fight for our rights to free speech; but even if we “win” this battle, it is only a temporary solution. We are dealing with a deep sickness and attacking the problem with political activism is as ineffective as trying to heal cancer with a band-aid. The real problem is not a political one but a spiritual one. The real problem is that people are lost and, in consequence, held captive by vain, irrational, dehumanizing forms of worldly thinking. While we puff ourselves up, stomp our feet, and scream about our “rights’ as American citizens, lost souls are desperately searching for meaning and love and finding it in all of the wrong places.
The truth of the matter is: we have lost our youth. They do not accept objective moral values, they don’t understand what truth is, and they are not interested in the Christian worldview. They are impulsive, emotionally driven, materialistic, superficial, and have absorbed Secular Humanistic, nihilistic, thinking without even realizing it. In about twenty years, when these kids in our illustrious high schools are doctors, lawyers, teachers, politicians and entertainers, we will find that all or our political grandstanding was ultimately a waste of time. The very democratic system that we are currently relying on to fight the “cultural war” will be turned against us in the end; because this was never a political battle in the first place—and, more to the point, truth is not determined by a vote. So, we are faced with a choice: we can drum up huge crowds of evangelicals to eat at Chick-fil-A, to fight for our right to free speech and “take a stand for marriage;” or, we can start focusing our efforts on loving people.
When I speak of loving people I don’t mean having a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. I mean loving them with the same self-giving, sacrificial love that Jesus demonstrated on the cross. I mean that we start truly caring for the left out, down hearted, misunderstood, people in our society. That we stand against hate crimes against homosexuals and alongside hurting families who have had loved ones commit suicide because they were gay; that we stop drawing a line in the sand and start opening our arms.
This is not to say that we give up our values or compromise our beliefs. It is to say that we value people more than our own right to free speech. The fact is, Christians in America are simply scared of persecution. Much of the political posturing we participate in is simply done out of fear: fear of losing our right to free speech, fear of Secular Humanistic ethics dominating our legal system. Fear, however, is contrary to the teaching of Jesus who explicitly told us not to fear and who said shocking things like: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12).
How many of you considered it a blessing when the media lashed out at Dan Cathy for simply making the statement that he believed in the Biblical definition of marriage? How many of you rejoiced and were exceedingly glad when the mayor of Boston stated that Chick-fill-A was not welcome in his city? Or, were you simply indignant, angry, and fearful? It’s difficult for us to wrap our heads around Jesus’ teaching on persecution because, quite frankly, we have it so easy. We are not really persecuted in America; but one day we might be if we continue waging a hopeless political battle.
A culture is made up of people; we, therefore, only effect change within a culture if the people who give life to a culture have a change of heart and mind. People are changed by Christ, not legislation, and this only happens when Christ’s people die to themselves, start demonstrating His love to the world, and make true disciples. Jesus said it best: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). Please note how non political sounding Jesus’ final command to his followers was. The kingdom of God is brought about through His people bringing the gospel to the world in a tangible way; not through manipulating the democratic political system. Only love, the self-giving, self-sacrificial, love of the cross can change hearts, renew minds, and ultimately revive a culture.