God On Politics: Let My People Go
Sunday, February 28, 2016
God has chosen us to stand with him against oppression.
God has chosen us to stand with him against oppression.
What issues are important to you this election year? One of the complaints I hear all the time is that the rich get richer while the rest of us get left out. To help me think through wealth, poverty and what we can possibly do, I have been reading When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. Their focus in this book is doing the best for people who are facing need without doing them (or ourselves) harm.
At the risk of oversimplification, they break down the process for helping someone in need to three steps: relief, rehabilitation and development. Relief is what we do to help people when a crisis has brought them to a desperate place in life. Relief is usually meeting a physical need to stop the bleeding. Once their life is stabilized, rehabilitation begins. The authors describe this part of the process as working alongside the person in need to help them back to where they were before they began their descent. Once they are back where they started, it’s time to begin working on development. Development deals with reconciliation – being made right with God, themselves, others and the rest of creation. This step is where we all become part of the process because it demonstrates that each of us live in some kind of poverty. In a fallen world we all struggle in these areas of our lives. We all struggle to relate rightly with our creator. Our God created us, loves us and sent his Son to receive the punishment for our sin. It seems like as soon as we are reminded of God’s free gift of grace, we decide to rebel against that grace and either condemn ourselves or begin to judge someone else. We struggle with our own identity. Most of us are so busy trying to impress other people that we can’t just be who we are. We have a hard time relating to other people because they have something we want. And, we struggle relating to the rest of creation because it seems to fight us at every turn. I once had a teacher describe it this way:
We were created by God to love God as our Father, love one another as brothers and rule over the earth. When sin entered the picture, we rebelled against God and lost our dominion over the earth. In our struggle to recover what was lost, we started running from our Heavenly Father and rule over other people because we no longer ruled over the earth.
When we understand development this way, it becomes a lifelong task for all of us. I want to challenge you to think about your development this week. Maybe it has financial ramifications for you and your family. Maybe it doesn’t. Either way each of us has a long way to go. What relationship do you need to spend some time and energy reconciling this week? What’s your first step that direction?
Happy Valentine’s Day. Yeah, this is that day we all love and hate. It’s a special day, but it’s also a day we measure love in all kinds of crazy ways: Did you get flowers? Did you get the right box of candy? Where did you get dinner reservations? Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to tell the important person in your life you care about them – even if that’s not a romantic relationship. Today is a great opportunity. It’s also a great opportunity to remember that’s something each of us needs to do every day. That said, I also want you to take a few minutes today to remember God’s love today. Isn’t that where all the rest of love comes from, anyway? (Take a look at 1 John 4:7.)
Take a few minutes today to read this article about God’s love. Reflect on how his love is the source for the way you love the most important people in your life. Then, take some time today to put that God-initiated love into practice:
Have a great Valentine’s Day!
This Sunday is a big day in our nation as people all over the country get together to watch Super Bowl 50. It says a lot about a sporting event that most of us who don’t have a rooting interest in either team will still gather to celebrate. I have to give a lot of credit to the NFL for creating a product we all love so much. Probably only Thanksgiving, Christmas and (maybe) New Year’s Eve are bigger get-together events in our culture. I think as believers this is a good opportunity for us to think about the value of these kinds of cultural events for Christ’s kingdom.
First, it’s good to have fun together. All the time we spend together reading the Bible, praying and serving is great, but sometimes you just need to hang out, relax and laugh at Super Bowl commercials together. Seriously, you fuddy-duddies out there, lighten up.
There’s no better encouragement than when we get together to be spiritual. Sometimes, though, when we’re just hanging out things come up that might not come up in a more intentional context. Sometimes it’s also easier to address challenges in the context of laughter than when the room is serious and quiet. No, we can’t expect to grow in Christ if we spend all our time partying, but occasionally we all need to let our hair down.
Where do we make new friends? Often in new places doing different things. When we get together for a sporting event or some other celebration, it usually involves people outside our normal circles of influence. That might be the very thing that gives you the chance to meet your next best friend.
In John 4 Jesus told his followers that they needed to look up and see the harvest was already ripe. Sometimes we are so busy with life that we don’t notice God’s work in the lives of people around us. Different social events can give us a different perspective on the lives of people around us. They give us the chance to look up from our busy-ness to interact with people in different ways. We may see God’s work in the life of someone we’ve never seen it before.
So, you and your family are invited to spend some time with us this Sunday. We will be playing flag football at 1:00 pm. Everyone is welcome to play. Then, we will be watching the Big Game at our pastor’s house. Send us a note if you would like more info about any of our activities: firstname.lastname@example.org