We were born into a world full of lenses that manipulate how we see. From the time we are small children we are already being told to interpret the world in certain ways. By the time we reach young adulthood we have very concrete ways in which we view and understand people, situations, and the world.
To be more specific: we all grow up wearing varying ideological lenses.
For instance, we may grow up wearing nationalistic lenses that cause us to view the world from our own country’s perspective. We may grow up wearing specific political or ideological lenses that cause us to view economic and social issues from a certain political perspective. Or, we may grow up wearing religious lenses that cause us to see and evaluate people, situations, and circumstances from the perspective of our own faith group.
The reality is that the lenses we have created over time and now wear primarily influence and govern our value and belief systems.
Let me be clear from the outset…there isn’t anything wrong with any of us having differing perspectives. The beauty of being fully human and a fully expressive creation of God lies in our uniqueness in seeing the world in new and different ways.
But the significant and disturbing problem I see running rampant among Christians is that we allow the man-made ideological, political, nationalistic, and religious lenses to shape our faith RATHER THAN allowing the transcendent values of God to be the primary influencing power that shapes how we see, interpret, and respond in the world. For many Christians, we have it exactly backwards.
The truth is that the only way to reverse this is to remove the lenses that distort how we see people, situations, and circumstances and adhere to a new value system of transcendent truth (life, love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, humility, and sacrifice) that renders every other value system as inferior and primitive.
Said another way: the only way for the blind to see is for our ideological, political, nationalistic, and religious scales to fall from our eyes so we may see as God sees.
And that is precisely what we find in Jesus Christ- transcendent truth embodied and unencumbered by ideologies, politics, nationalism, or religion. In fact, the transcendent truth of God cuts directly through man-made positions and ideas…and stands victorious on its merit alone, or said another way- love always wins. This simple fact alone ought to propel and give keen insight to the Christian on the necessity of fully embracing and then embodying…with every ounce of our being… the transcendent value system of God in our lives. The Christian should make the values of God the primary driving force in our lives and the basis for how we see people, situations, and circumstances. It is the very values and essence of God embodied in Jesus Christ…and given to us through the Holy Spirit. But, too many times, we reject this in favor of our own man-made ideas of how things ought to be and how people are.
Until we, as Christians, begin operating solely by the transcendent values of God…we will continue to fall short of who God has created us to be and remain divided against one another.
This is a significant issue that needs to be taken seriously…and this example makes my point very clearly.
Liberalism and Conservatism are man-made ideologies that significantly influence how we view and interpret people, situations, circumstances. These ideologies are so prominent and influential that, for many professed Christians, they become the lenses through which we understand our faith and issues related to our faith. This occurs to such a large degree that we, who ought to be bonded and united as one and operating primarily by the transcendent values of God, are actually divided against each other.
There are Liberal Christians who believe abortion ought to be lawful in certain situations…and that women ought to have the “right” to choose what happens to her own body. As you know, this position is wildly debated and contested by Conservative Christians who believe that a fetus is a human life that ought not be killed in any situation. They believe that taking an unborn human life opposes the heart and will of God. This issue between the two ideological groups creates a tsunami of discord.
Oddly enough, while Conservative Christians fight vehemently for the life of an unborn baby, they fight just as hard to support war and the killing of people they view as enemies of our country to preserve their freedom. As you might suspect, this position of war is met with wild resistance by Liberal Christians who view killing enemies as antithetical to the way of Jesus Christ.
Can you imagine either of these “Christian” groups ever coming together and agreeing with one another based upon their uncompromising allegiance to their political ideology? Neither can I. As long as each group continues to allow the inferior lenses of Liberalism and Conservatism to cloud how they view issues…nothing will change. As I said earlier, it is only transcendent truth and a transcendent value system that can cut directly through man-made positions and ideas and then stand victorious on its own merit, bringing those previously opposed into unity.
The truth of God that cuts through every Liberal and Conservative position is God’s profound love of ALL LIFE. Rather than Christians being governed by and seeing the world through the limiting lenses of ideology and then fighting based on these inferior positions… it is essential that the Christian surrenders to that which we have been ordained to live by in the first place- God’s transcendent values of life, love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, humility, and service. It is God’s values that take prominence in the Christian’s life and nothing else- not man-made ideology, not man-made values, not man-made politics, not man-made countries, and certainly not any man-made religion.
Unfortunately, we have too Christians who are governed by inferior positions, who then arbitrarily attribute their inferior positions as the position of God. So rather than Christians conforming to the image and transcendent values of God…we have attempted to make God in our own image and attribute our own ideological, political, nationalistic, and religious misgivings to God! Do we not understand that this is the most egregious form of idolatry that exists? We significantly err by taking our inferior positions and speaking for the Most High God.
If we would remove the lenses we would finally see that God loves life…period! God values life…period! And not just some life but ALL LIFE!
God does not see issues or people from the perspective of a Democrat or a Republican. They are of no consequence to God. God isn’t an American or Anglo-Saxon (can you believe that?)…nor is God’s values the same as either one! God is God…and that’s just it. God loves and values all life…and there is no way to spin it.
We may not personally like it and this may not align with our inferior ideology, the lenses we wear, or the world we have constructed (that we would like God to fit within)…but we cannot change, manipulate, or confine God’s profound and unchanging love for life! Nor can we change God’s yearning and longing for US to be people who embody the EXACT SAME LOVE FOR ALL OF LIFE!!!
We cannot bring God down to our inferior position. It doesn’t work that way. Just because one may use the name of God to support his political or ideological position- IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT ALIGNS WITH THE TRANSCENDENT VALUES OF GOD! We conform to God…God does not conform to us!
We may yell and scream that we have “rights” and “freedom” until we are blue in our faces! We may argue for a mother’s “right” to choose or a citizen’s “right” for “freedom” at the cost of another’s life… but we argue from an inferior, worldly position. There is not one of us who has any rights before God! The right to choose when someone should no longer live is God’s alone. We don’t own one breath of our lives! So what “right” do we have taking the life of another human being for the illusion of acting on our “rights” and “freedom?”
It does not matter how small or inconsequential, the situation or circumstance, or how much one may deserve their life to be taken based upon our own judgment…we simply have no right my friend.
The One who has all the right and who grants all freedom values ALL life…and we have been sorely mistaken by standing against or taking life…ANY LIFE…by our own hands.
Take off the blinders and see clearly Christian! We must give ourselves over completely to the ways of God rather than settling for and perpetuating this worldly rubbish that we peddle in God’s name. Let our lives be conformed to God by the power of His Spirit to be lovers of all life, defenders of all life, and the means through which the peace and love of God extends in the world. God is unanimously pro-life in the most complete sense of the word and that is precisely what God is calling us to be as well.