top of page
  • Writer's pictureAshley Rogers

Politics, Jesus and Choosing Sides

We found ourselves walking along a rugged Inks Lake hiking path. Beautiful at every turn, yet thick with Texas shrubs and cedars, the landscape was both nothing special and yet beautifully serene at the same time. As I hung back with my youngest, who is ever aware of the smallest things, she remarked on nearly everything we saw. At one bend, she exclaimed, "mama- look at the hearts!" Upon first glance, I saw a massive cactus grouping that covered our path. Then as I got closer I realized she was right! These cactus were all heart shaped. I tucked away the pictures as I could feel God whispering deep truths about how He sees and how He invites us to see.


Every day the world tells us which sides we have to choose from; our perspective options from which we can view the world.

We are given an array of selections and choices and told to pick from those presented. Then when we choose from this list, we inherit immediate enemies from those who have chosen other than us. Democrat or Republican we say- you must choose! For or against? Choose! Pro or Anti? Choose!


Scripture is actually full of important moments where God asks us to choose. In the book of Joshua He says to his people, “choose this day whom you will serve.” Jesus says in the New Testament that we cannot serve two masters, we must choose. He also says that we must choose Him, take up our crosses and deny ourselves. In the Garden of Eden, God gave man a choice- to obey or not to obey. Choice is a cornerstone of our faith and of humanity. We value it, we fight wars over it, we give our lives to defend it.

 

But, what if in idolizing the idea of choice, we have actually limited the very thing we long for?

Let’s go back to the time of Christ's birth to unpack this. Around the time Jesus was born into this world, there was political upheaval. The people of God were being oppressed and the political climate was chaotic and violent. Naturally, as the Jewish people were awaiting the Messiah they assumed his arrival would mark physical freedom from oppression and an overthrow of what they determined as the enemy (Rome). They had limited scope of what God meant by freedom. Who God meant as the enemy (Sin, death, the devil). His freedom was for all people; the kind that would free not just one nation- but all. Freedom not just for one generation, but for every future generation as well. The kind that would free for eternity. But they did not know what they had not yet experienced. Their choices for Messiah were limited to what fit into their understood reality.


Let’s go back a little further. Joshua was a follower of God and leader of the army of Israel. Before battle, he was met by an angel with a drawn sword. Immediate human defenses go up. Joshua presented the unknown angel with the natural two choices: are you for us or for our enemies? (Can we just pause to reflect on that for a moment?) To this, the angel replied with something that strikes me to the core. The angel said, “Neither. But as commander of the Lord's army I have come.” (Joshua 5:14) The angel of God was coming with an entirely different perspective and purpose from mans'.

Joshua asked the angel to choose a side and the angel of God basically responded- "yah, it doesn't work like that my friend. That's not why I'm here."

This shouldn't feel unfamiliar to us. Isn't that exactly how we fight and argue with people? Hey- are you for or against me? Black or white. You are either friend or foe, enemy or ally. God doesn’t think like that. He sees other options because He has other purposes. His options extend far beyond the categories that we have limited ourselves to. He is entirely outside of the social, political and even religious structures we try to reduce Him to.

 

If I’m brave, I will dive into one example a little more. We live near the southern border in Texas. In this space, there are very strong opinions about things  like immigration, guns, defense and rights.  There a strong line that has been drawn in the sand that leaves little room for “neither”. It says, are you for us, or against us? In this space, we begin to lose our compassion for people and they become not only our enemies, but almost inhuman- they become an object to fight against.

Where did we lose the space to hold the tension for “neither” and "both"? When did we begin to think God only has two choices? When did we begin to believe the lie that we cannot hold space to understand two sides of an issue?

When did we lose the ability to speak truth yet still have compassion and love deeply? When did it become ok to spit words of hatred and name calling to those we don’t agree with and yet call it evil when we teach our children the same on Sunday mornings?

We begin to say and believe things like, “anything on ‘my side’ is true, anything on ‘your side’ is a lie.”

Wholeheartedly I believe there is truth to stand on, but we have confused the whole truth of God- found so clearly written in His Word- with political sides and stances that line up with human agenda and therefore have become a deeply confused people of God.

 

We always have more than one choice. And my dear friends, I’m afraid I don’t have great news here. That is, if you view it from one perspective. This choice has always come at a cost. It is rarely popular and most often does not have a large following or a “side”. It’s the choice to lay down our lives for the sake of others, the choice to see beyond and ask for eyes like Jesus has. As it turns out, Jesus was disliked by the political Romans and the spiritual leaders alike. He found himself on neither side, and yet at the same time- the side that gave His life for all. He didn’t call them idiots. He didn’t tell them his rights (although He held all authority in His hands). He didn’t condemn them and instead forgave them as they tortured Him. He didn’t call for them to take up arms on his behalf, nor did He tell them they should continue in their sin either. He spoke truth. He loved them. And He gave us His life to show us there is another way to “be” in a chaotic, turbulent, desperate, my-side-or-your-side time in history.

 

As we are often so quick to look at a scene and say, 'it's cactus, or 'it's a field of hearts' perhaps it can be both. As you consider the headlines that arise each day, could we ask-

“God, what do you see? What should my perspective be? Can I let go of my political, or personal opinions to see differently if needed?”

Can you imagine if we as God’s people began to do this truly? Perhaps instead of creating war, we would show those who don’t know Him another way. THE way. The way that leads to life.



89 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page