The Hot Button Distraction

Remember the phrase “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread”? In light of today’s topic, I believe I can identify more with the fools in this phrase than with the angels. But rush in I will.

Over the past three decades, the American church has experiened and incredible assertion of itself in the political realm. Head on, we’ve confronted political and social issues that have raised our hackles like a momma pit bull protecting her pups. 

Name a hot button issue of the day and any self-respecting Evangelical automatically knows our own politically correct stance on on the matter. Christians from all over the country have joined in these fights. We’ve marched, rallied, donated, campaigned, and voted in an effort to win these fights on the side of right.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand and sympathize with the underlying reasoning for the stances taken on such issues. But I wonder–have we made these issues a distraction from our mission? What’s more, does our approach on these issues actually run counter to our mission?

It seems inconceivable, but consider the following issues and the contrasting approaches we could use to reach our objective:

– picketing abortion clinics; donating to campaigns; voting for the values candidate; or
– sacrificing finances and convenience to provide an avenue for a frightened young lady to   carry her baby to term; working for adoption reform to make adoption choices easier; financially and physically providing care for a mother and child after birth

Pubilc Prayer
– showing government officials our defiance by sitting under a safe, inoffensive, non-comittal, inter-faith public prayer; or
– teaching our children to have regular and personal communcation with God; fostering our own personal prayer life; living our lives as a powerful public prayer

Gay Marriage
– voting for the values candidate; attending rallies; participating in write-in campaigns to the legislature; donating to defense-of-marriage war chests; or
– even though we disagree with their lifestyle, we embrace a group of people for whom Jesus died and demonstrate his life-transforming agape love to them

In God We Trust
– conducting write-in campaigns to the legislature; voting for the values candidate; rallying on the steps of the capitol; or
– demonstrating our trust in God through sacricial giving no matter what is, or is not, printed on our money.

Remember our mission from a few posts back? We have been tasked with reaching the world with the message of Christ through the power of his love. With this in mind,  consider the following questions for each issue above:

Which approach says “we are against you”?
Which approach shows agape to those who need help?

Which approach is a diversion of our resources and energy away from our mission?
Which approach keeps us running in the direction of our mission?

Which approach achieves the goals of our political agenda?
Which approach achieves the goals of our mission?

Which approach wins elections?
Which approach wins hearts, minds, and souls?

There’s nothing wrong with voting your conscience on a particular issue. But when the passion of these issues meets the certainty of our faith, it becomes easy to allow ourselves to pursue any means necessary to “win” the social-issues battle. Unfortunately this opens the door for us to lose focus of these issues as they relate to our true mission. We begin to work toward winning issues rather than winning souls.

We can learn a valuable lesson from the marathon runner from an earlier post and not allow political issues to become the focus of our mission.

But doesn’t our mission involve taking America back for God? More on that thought tomorrow.

Live The Mission,