My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? Imagine a brother or sister who is naked and never has enough food to eat. What if one of you said, “Go in peace! Stay warm! Have a nice meal!”? What good is it if you don’t actually give them what their body needs? In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity.James 2:14-17
Friday evening, walking the dog, I spent a good deal of time wrestling with how I could – or even if I should – address this latest chapter in what I call “The Great Dividing of America.” We are already so polarized, so fragmented, so unwilling to even talk with one another about difficult subjects.
So afraid, I believe, that we will discover we may be wrong, or that we need to rethink, or that our opponents may possibly have something constructive to add to the conversation.
But I have written about the deep tragedy of abortion before (Finding Common Ground). I’m not going to repeat the same things in today’s post.
So I prayed about it, and like a light going on in my soul I realized that my task here is to continue to play the role of encourager. And by encourager I mean the literal meaning of, “giving courage.” Not the courage to push a point of view but the courage to be honest about what we do not know, the courage to embrace the messiness of uncertainty, the courage to listen to other voices, the courage to learn.
I am not interested in telling anyone what to think; but I absolutely feel it’s appropriate to suggest how we might go about thinking.
I believe we should try to think like Jesus. The Apostle Paul puts it this way, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5)
Paul is not suggesting we all share the same opinions but that we have the same mindset, the same attitude. I love the way the Wycliff Bible frames this idea: “And feel ye this thing in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
And “this thing” in Jesus, Philippians 2 goes on to explain, is humility. Jesus is all about putting the interests of others ahead of our own. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
And the Jesus mindset of humility adds compassion, and he “emptied himself” to the extent that he became like a servant.
Climate of repression:
People in today’s cultural/social/political/religious climate love to tell other people what they should think and what they should believe, and they often do this without actually thinking things through themselves. Few have the courage or the moral integrity to be honest about their doubts, their mistakes, their prejudices, and their uncertainty.
So maybe this is a good time to follow Jesus in terms of humility, and compassion, and selflessness. And – here’s a great idea – how about we go out of our way to make this world more welcoming to children, more encouraging to young women, more supportive of families, and more equal in terms of access to appropriate care.
How about we live love out loud? How about we stop shouting and listen?
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,Philippians 2:3-7
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself…
In love, and because of love – DEREK