But Jesus, I’m a Republican…
Matthew 25:35,36 I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink… I was naked and you clothed me… I was in prison and you came to me… As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.
I often define my Christianity by a set of immoral behaviors in which I do not engage. Never mind that I have participated in some pretty destructive behaviors. I can still point to the fact that I do not murder, steal, commit adultery or curse. I think a lot of us do this. We point to all the sins we do not struggle with and insist that is what defines our faith.
Jesus defined those who followed him in radically different terms. He said those who truly follow him will love and care for those around them.
In this passage (Matthew 25:31-46), He describes what the final judgment is going to look like. In the end, Jesus says He will divide all humanity into two groups, the sheep and the goats. To the sheep, He will say, Come, inherit the kingdom prepared for you. Jesus explains that the sheep are those who fed the hungry, clothed the naked and visited those in prison. He insisted that when the sheep did for the least among them, they were doing for Christ.
To the goats however, Jesus will have harsh words. Depart from me, you cursed into the eternal fire… The goats are those who refused to feed the hungry, clothe the poor or visit those in prison. Jesus said that as they turned their backs to the lowliest among them, they turned their backs on God. In doing so, they made their choice and sealed their fate.
No mention here, is made of church or political affiliation. Jesus will not divide the world based on specific sins or worldly success. All other distinctions will be stripped away and we will be separated into those who were obedient to Christ and those who were not.
I do not prove my own goodness by doing, but Jesus message is very clear. If I claim to be his follower, I must follow him. If I say I am a Christian but I never lift a finger to help the unfortunate around me, I am an imposter. At the end, the goats were shocked that they were not chosen to inherit the kingdom. Lord, when did we see you hungry? They claimed to know Christ but they followed self.
I have so often been guilty of this. I have claimed to be a Christian but refused to love my neighbor. I have even used my faith as a reason not to help others. They made their choices. They are in need because they chose sinful, destructive behavior. They are suffering the consequences that God designed for them. They deserve what they are getting.
I am not speaking of politics here. I am referring to my own personal behavior. I am referring to the excuses I use to avoid obeying God. If I look at my life and I cannot find where I am participating in the work of Christ, I must ask if I am his follower or not. If I claim to know him but I live for me, I am not his disciple. Following Christ means loving him and loving those around me.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful or interesting, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.