This week we take a look at a very familiar text that asks us to love our neighbor as we love ourself. It's an easy task to grasp in theory, but a little more challenging to accomplish in reality. In our world, where everyone is so polarized around issues, it is easy to fall into the trap the world sets up for us; a trap of false dichotomies, demonizing and an "us versus them" mentality. It's so easy to point fingers, lay blame and assume "our side" is the "right side," while the "other side" is evil incarnate. It is easy to hate instead of love.
The struggle, however, is that love demands justice. Love demands truth. Love demands selflessness or it isn't love at all. Love is not about protecting the rights of some people, but the rights of ALL people. When our world sets up a system in which some people prosper and others drown, it is hard to make the claim that the system is loving. It isn't. Love demands that we fight for fairness for all people, not just for some people. Love demands that we stand against forces that hold some people down. Love demands that we fight against anything that does people harm. Love puts human life and dignity above national pride and prosperity. And above all, love demands that we point out evil when we see it.
Jesus didn't spend his life suggesting it is ok for the system to oppress people. In fact, he spent his life fighting against it. He sacrificed his life to end it. His love was a love that risked pointing out evil and oppression in the world. His followers should do the same.
Now, here's the truth of the matter in America today. Our system is evil. Our system is not driven by love, fairness and equal opportunity. Our system is driven by money. Money, money, money. If you have money, you have power. If you have money, you have value. If you have money, you have influence. If you have money, you set policy. Love isn't about money. As Jesus said, "you cannot serve both God and wealth." Our system, the system we should be pointing out as evil, is run by money.
Take a look at a video I watched recently that explains it better than I can. Just google "Our democracy no longer represents us. Here's how to fix it. Larry Lessig." It is a TedTalk video posted on YouTube. Just listen to the facts and consider for yourself the merit of its content. As Christians, we should be standing up and fighting hard against a system that is stacked completely in favor of those who have money and against those who are average (even though the vast majority of us are average). The problem in America today is less a problem of political party and more a problem of special interests with money who buy influence and rig the system in favor of themselves. Both parties are controlled by them and neither party will put an end to it.
I think as Christian people, we should not stand by and allow this to happen. Our system is run by money, not by fairness, not by justice, not by love. Christians can keep pointing fingers at Republicans and Democrats all we want, but the true evildoers are the puppeteers pulling the strings of both parties. The puppeteers being, of course, those who have money and use that money to buy influence. Now keep in mind, I'm not condemning the wealthy, I'm condemning the wealthy who buy influence and use that influence to set policy that does not work for all people. I'm condemning politicians who continue to be bought - and that happens on both sides of the aisle.
I have struggled so hard to understand why people I love and respect would have such divergent views as me when we both claim Christianity as our faith. I cannot for the life of me understand it. Then it hit me. As long as I buy into the fallacy that one political party is pure evil and one is the epitome of good, my eyes are distracted from seeing the true evil in our country - wealth that buys influence. Jesus spoke against it regularly. His followers should too.
Please, watch the video, have a blessed week and Go 4th In Christ!
Please remember the good folks of Fourth in your prayers. Here's a list of those we've been remembering:
Dennis and Joan Little - family situations and concerns
Bill & Ruthie Brent ask for prayers for Debbie (a specialist has been called), Jeff and Loretta
Bill & Ruthie ask for prayers for Bill's step-granddaughter who has stage 4 cancer and is now in hospice care. Please pray for Bill, too, as this is very distressing news for him.
Pat Gould ask for prayers for her friend Tammy's husband
Jan Merrick asks for prayers for friends Karen and Jim. Jim is battling health issues
Michaelle and Larry Steier's son John - eye surgery
Margaret Lewis - Health issues. Prayers, too, for Alex.
Peggy Garlinger's son who has been diagnosed with covid-19
Nancy Wright's friend Susannah Lindsay with cancer. Also for Susannah's sons.
Naiser Family asks for prayers for their friend Dillon Frost as he recovers from an accident.
Jennifer Harrison's mother who continues to battle health issues.
For our city and nation as we continue to fight racism.
Tom & Robin Woodruff - both recovering from surgery.
Connie Nutgrass - In ICU with severe health concerns