HAVE YOU VOTED?

Church and politics go together like candy with turnip greens. Don’t get me wrong, I believe Christians ought to be working for the good of the country they are part of and trying to elect the best candidates they can. But I don’t believe who I vote for or who you vote for has any place in the church or the gathering of God’s people. I don’t have a problem with churches working alongside other churches to fight for some moral issue or against some immoral issue. But even in those kinds of things we walk a very thin line. Remember our teacher, mentor and pattern is Jesus. Think of Jesus during his time on this earth as he was demonstrating to us what the Father is like, and how he dealt with many of the big moral issues of his day. Adultery was a huge moral problem then as now. Many woman made their way in life by means of prostitution. But a woman can’t do very well as a prostitute if there aren’t any men coming to her and purchasing her body. What would Jesus have done if there had been a ballot issue proposing a ban on prostitution? Would Jesus have voted on the issue? If so how would he have voted?

He was definitely against adultery. He condemned the action involved and even said the person who divorced their wife or husband or some frivolous reason was guilty of adultery. But when the religious leaders who would have been the most likely ones to have introduced a constitutional amendment against prostitution tested Jesus on the subject by bringing the woman they had caught in adultery and demanding of him that he tell them what he would do with regard to the woman, he didn’t act as they wanted. The law clearly said to stone such a woman to death. So, “What do you say?” In many ways I think this would have been the essence of asking Jesus how he would vote on their amendment against prostitution? Are you for prostitution, Jesus? No, certainly not. All immoral acts are sinful before God.

So surely, if all immoral behavior is wrong and this woman has been caught in the act of adultery and the law demanded that such a woman be stoned to death, surely Jesus you will be for stoning her, won’t you? Imagine the gathered crowd around Jesus. It must have looked a lot like a modern political rally where most of the people there are from one political party and tend to believe the same things. But there are a few hearty souls there who wish to come out and argue with the other side and show their folly. The pressure was surely on Jesus to take his stand with the Law and with these well heeled religious leaders. He stooped to the ground and began doodling in the dirt. He was writing something in the dirt. What is he writing there? The apostle John left us in our imagination to fill in the blank of what he was writing on the ground. Some old manuscripts say he was writing their sins on the ground. I wonder if it might have been their names as if to say to each of them, “I know who you are.” Whatever he wrote, they were continuing to badger him with the question, “What do you say?” His vote counted. If they could go out and declare Jesus had endorsed their proposition it would certainly carry some weight.

Jesus looked up and said, “Let the person who doesn’t have any sin of their own throw the first rock at the woman who was caught in adultery.” Wait a minute!That wasn’t what we wanted. We wanted a declaration from you against prostitution. Why have you turned the whole thing around to have us examining our own life? Jesus was against prostitution, against adultery but he was very much for saving the prostitutes, the adulterers and adulteresses. Jesus was in the saving business. So should the church be.

If we as a church are ready with the rocks to stone all the immoral people around us we will utterly fail in the soul saving business. It is vital that we decide which we will be. We can be the church that is all on the same page and all voting in the way that fits with what they are told or we can realize that in becoming so hard on such topics we may be closing the door to reach the very person who wants to get out of that way of life and doesn’t quite know how they will survive when they change.

The church needs to stand with Jesus as opposed to adultery while reaching out with love to save the one who is an adulteress or adulterer. The church must take a clear stand against the sin of homosexual behavior but at the same time be ever so careful that you don’t shut the door to saving the one caught in the homosexual behavior. Our business is the saving business, not the wiping out of all sinful behavior. Our fight against sin can be done is such a way that sinners are only pushed further away and feel anger and resentment toward the church instead of letting it seem that their life is so bad there is no hope for change or new life.

So, vote. I will too. But it is none of my business who you voted for and none of yours who I voted for. We certainly don’t want to leave the impression that unless you vote our way you don’t fit in this church.

About leoninlittlerock

Preaching minister for Central church of Christ in Little Rock. Author of over 20 books including: When a Loved one Dies, Spiritual Development, Skid Marks on the Family Drive, Challenges in the church, To Know Christ and A Drink of Living Water.
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