I recently had a change of heart in my political views and matured a little bit more in my Christian faith.  I identify myself as a compassionate conservative, not extreme conservative, not moderately conservative, but a conservative with compassion.  I am truly grateful to be living here in the United States of America.  Yes, we are facing difficult times, but at least this country provides the freedom to the people to decide for themselves what path they wish to follow.  What kind of country would we be if we were to force others into Biblical living if they have not yet accepted Christ into their lives?  In the beginning, God created man and woman to have a free will of their own, if that free will did not exist, then love would not exist, and that would be a truly frightening world.  It is unfortunate that there are people who go to the extremes and that seems to be all we get in the mainstream media, one extreme viewpoint to another.  When I first started this journal, I had my settings established to moderate all replies before they are posted.  About a month ago, I changed it to allow all replies to post without my approval. 

We can never argue a person into God’s kingdom or provide enough evidence to compel belief.  Faith is a choice.  After a person chooses to believe, he or she will find more than enough evidence that faith is more reasonable than unbelief.  Mark 8:11-13 supports this truth:  “The Pharisees came to Jesus and began to ask him questions.  Hoping to trap him, they asked Jesus for a miracle from God.  Jesus sighed deeply and said ‘Why do you people ask for a miracle as a sign?  I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to you.’ Then Jesus left the Pharisees and went in the boat to the other side of the lake.” (NCV)

In Luke 6:27-38, Jesus describes the natural cycle of life.  When we judge others, they’ll judge us as well.  When we condemn their actions, they’ll look for an opportunity to condemn ours.  As Jesus said, “For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”  If we respond to antagonism with friendship, in time, friendship will be returned!  Are we not given the direct command to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?”  Holiness is to be an internal, dynamic quality growing out of our complete commitment to God.  As we grow in Christ, we will find ourselves able to relate to sinners in a loving, positive way without being attracted to or corrupted by their sins.  Like Jesus, we should be separated from sin but not from the sinners.  Our human tendency is to think that an essentially decent person would make a good Christian, while others are just so corrupt we need not bother approaching them with the gospel.  Never write off another person, however wicked he or she seems to be.  The greatest sinners often make the greatest saints.  An excellent example for reflection on this would be found in Luke 7:36-50 when a woman washes Jesus’ feet.

Max Lucado offers excellent insight on this topic in his book In The Grip of Grace:

“When the church in Rome was debating whether to eat meat offered to idols, did Paul tell them to start two churches?  One for the meat-eaters and one for the nonmeat-eaters?  No, on the contrary, he urged, “Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other, which will bring glory to God” (Romans 15:7).

Is God asking us to do anything more than what he has already done?  Hasn’t he gone a long way in accepting us?  If God can tolerate my mistakes, can’t I tolerate the mistakes of others?  If God allows me, with my foibles and failures, to call him Father, shouldn’t I extend the same grace to others?  In fact, who can offer grace except those secure in the grip of grace?  If God doesn’t demand perfection, should I?…

God’s ship is a grand vessel.  Just as a ship has many rooms, so God’s kingdom has room for many opinions.  But just as a ship has one deck, God’s kingdom has a common ground: the all-sufficient sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  Will you pray with me for the day when Jesus’ prayer is answered?  Will you pray with me for the day when the world is won because the church is one?  Will you pray with me for the day when we come out of our rooms and stand together to salute our captain?  When clusters cease and the chorus commences?  Jesus’ final prayer before the cross was for the unity of his followers.  Would he offer a prayer that couldn’t be answered?  I don’t think so either.”