In the midst of so many other teachings and admonitions Jesus makes to his disciples and to the crowds, a few seem almost discordant in the message they give. But they are no less important than the rest.
The one we’ll look at today packs a punch, even it it isn’t quite as harsh as the text about priorities where Christ insists that those who would follow him must hate mother and father and even their own lives. (It takes only a cursory familiarity with scripture to understand that he meant loyalty to Christ must be absolutely unwavering when even your closest relationships would make any competing claim against that loyalty.)
In the midst of some hard words about being sent to proclaim his good news among others who would sometimes violently reject it, he told his followers:
Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.
We will be sheep in the midst of wolves, and are called to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
There are a great many lessons to be drawn from this, but one relevant to today is to carefully guard his gospel message from those who would exploit it.
We have already seen Al Sharpton’s eulogy of George Floyd. We have made our position about Floyd’s wrongful death clear. It bears all the markings of a crime, and should be prosecuted as any other. We even acknowledge that some points in Sharpton’s eulogy/sermon to George Floyd, touching on the Good Samaritan were pretty solid.
But applying to the text ‘the stone the builders rejected became the chief cornerstone’ to the deceased was straight-up heresy. No less a luminary than Jesus himself has called his OWN life and ministry the fulfillment of that scripture… which was also echoed by the Apostles.
That was just one way in which recent events have been demanding fealty from Christians. This is ground upon which we must tread very carefully.
We have seen grand gestures that may have meant well, but are ultimately of no value in dealing with the real issue.
Leftists spent a long time figuring how to worm their way into the church. They found it. It’s guilt. It cost me my own pastor a couple weeks ago when he went this route. Absolutely repulsive. https://t.co/fRBiFuTdiJ
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) June 18, 2020
We have seen Christian imagery hijacked in order to promote a cause.
I've been told that this new anti-racism movement is not a religion. pic.twitter.com/0lv1xIDNyd
— K. Walker (@TheMrsKnowItAll) June 19, 2020
Where does this leave the Christian who genuinely opposes racism, but wants no part of the political madness we’ve seen lately?
As Shapiro is fond of saying, two things can be true at the same time.
On one hand, racial divisions are antithetical to the core teachings of the Christian faith… as we see in the words of Jesus (the Good Samaritan parable, for instance), the teachings of Paul (i.e. Gal 3:28), and in the glimpse of the idealized future Christ has promised where people from ‘every tribe and tongue and nation’ will be gathered together as one.
On the other hand, there is an incompatibility between a specific political movement and those same core teaching of Christianity that reject racism.
The open-handed faith of Christ featuring bold witnesses risking death at the hand of violent men while offering nothing but the gospel in return is entirely incompatible with the closed fist of a political movement that demonizes their opponents.
History has already made it quite clear that Marxism is openly at war with all aspects of Christianity. This is important since Marxism is at the very core of BLM teachings.
BLM co-founder confirms what anyone who’s read their work knows: they’re proudly marxists. pic.twitter.com/vvUk5jTp7j
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) June 18, 2020
And BLM’s own website explains their commitment for various politically-radical ideas including the dissolution of the nuclear family.
There is no common ground between the Christian message of grace and peace, and a group so willing to embrace political violence and lawlessness.
Christians, if we are to be wise as serpents as Jesus commanded, must find our own way to address the genuine problems of injustice and inequality without throwing support behind a group whose values and aims are so deeply at odds with our own.
Christians must lead the way in bridging racial divisions, rather than joining those who would exploit them to promote dangerous and revolutionary ideas to which Christ himself would stand opposed.
After all, the family was his idea. It was HE who said, what God has joined together, let no man separate.
Why should we throw in with a group whose stated aim includes disband the nuclear family altogether?
Racism is a great evil, that should be opposed when encountered. But we must not forget that his word also told us that ” the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
The deeper solution, as is true of all our other sins, is a heart change, not a political one.
That change is one for which we must all go to the only effective remedy:
Repentance, and seeking the grace of God himself.