By Mike Colaw
I think it’s so interesting how our wonderful religious freedom has developed an unintended long-term consequence. Now, I love this freedom! It is truly what defines us as a people and culture. The consequence is some Christians now believe our beliefs should also be a legal requirement for others as well, and their method to attain control is harsh and condemning.
Imagine a missionary, only this one looks like Rambo. He sports a machine gun, massive muscles and fights like a ninja. Oh yeah, and he is a Christian, too. Pretend this guy goes from city to city with his brute force and makes everyone act like him. He then creates laws that force people to worship just like he does. Is this evangelism? Well, actually no, he may have forced people into a behavior, but he doesn’t have their hearts. Sound familiar? It should. Religions all around the world do this. Christians can even fall into this when confidence in Christ’s ability to change someone’s heart turns to fear they will lose social control. Here is the catch. God doesn’t want just social order, which is important; he wants the hearts of the people. Remember, Christ came as a baby boy, not a spiritual Rambo forcing all to obey.
There are many Christians who don’t understand they are unintentionally acting just like the Pharisees they speak against.
So why does this happen?
These people value what they believe works for the state, or organization, over its individuals.
C.S. Lewis says it like this:
“If individuals live only 70 years, a state, or a nation, or a civilization, which may last for 1,000 years, is more important than the individual. But if Christianity is true, then the individual is not only more important, but incomparably more important, for he is everlasting and the life of a state or a civilization, compared with his, is only a moment.”
So here is the bottom line. If we, as Christians, fought for the hearts of people as much as we fight for Biblical control, we would look more like Christ intended us to. Standing for truth is important, but we must never forget our method of doing so is important as well. Actually, Jesus says it best (Matthew 23:23 New International Version):
“…You have neglected the more important matters of the law: justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”