14 September 2020 Pastor Rick: TALKING POINTS – The Point After
by Pastor Rick Henderson
This weekend we kicked off a new series by looking at the intersection of our faith and our politics. If you were hoping the message would be full of hot takes on hot topics, I’m sorry to disappoint. Rather than drawing lines and picking sides, our aim is to clarify what it means to place our faith filter ahead of our political filter. How are you doing with this question?
Are you willing to EVALUATE your politics through the filter of OUR FAITH,
rather than create a VERSION of faith that supports your politics?
In life, what’s easiest is rarely what is best. And that is certainly the case here. The easy option is to look for ways Jesus aligns with our political convictions and commitments. That’s called confirmation bias. The better option is to begin with Jesus, and then carefully evaluate our political options in light of his teaching. Following his leadership means filtering all options through a singular command.
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)
We live our lives, and we make our choices, political ones included, in response to this question, “What does love require of me?” We look solely to Jesus Christ and the New Testament to define love. And yet, there are many questions that simply aren’t covered by Scripture. Our task is to do our best to apply what is clear to situations that aren’t. The better we know his word, the better prepared we’ll be to do that.
I’ve already received some fantastic questions that reveal just how challenging this can be. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll share some of those with you. Here’s one that tops the list.
What is our role when we are concerned that some, who have reached different political views from us, are basing these views on misinformation, unfamiliarity with history, lack of education, or misplaced fear?
A humble and loving approach begins with the assumption that I could also be misinformed, uninformed, or influenced by emotion.
Before I approach the other person, I want to ask myself this: “Have I earned the right relationally to engage this person?” Sometimes it doesn’t matter how right we are if don’t have the relational currency necessary to raise tough topics. Assuming it’s appropriate to proceed, my favorite approach is to ask questions. I’m fascinated by what people think, how they think, and what led them to see things as they do. Questions don’t have to be a tactic. Questions can be a product of friendship and relationship building. When people answer, listen to understand rather than listening to reply.
Keep this in mind as well: is the other person asking questions in return? When people don’t reciprocate with questions of their own, that is often a sign they aren’t interested in talking more about it. Rarely is it loving to push someone into a conversation they aren’t willing to have.
Pray for that person. Be their friend. Leave no doubt that your love and friendship is unconditional.