We live in a day where many things the Bible tells us are true. . . . . . . are very unpopular. Some tensions that Christians find themselves in the middle of are;
'How do we hold beliefs that are controversial in the public square?'.
'Why should we expect Non-Christians to hold beliefs that Christians are commanded to believe?'
'What about when those beliefs affect society of which I am a part?'
'How do we balance truth and grace?'
'What do we start with(truth or grace)?'
'How much should we work for what we believe through politics?'
'Just because something is a political issue, does that mean we need to treat it like a political issue?'
'Where is the line between training our families to be Missionaries (good) and not protecting them or raising them in the truth (bad)?'
That's a lot of questions, and I don't know all the answers. Certainly, some of the answers are case-by-case and are things in which Christians can disagree. In fact, as a Pastor, I think I need to answer some of those questions in a few different ways based upon what station I'm occupying (Father? Church leader? Citizen? Community Member?).
Here's one value I think should inform the way we think about these matters. What do we want to be about? What do we want to be known for? Some of us are so quick to jump on every large societal issue that comes up on our newsfeed that it can come across like that's what we care about most. Some of us would do well with a little restraint and choosing our battles. Some of us should talk more often about Jesus or God's Word and less about the issue of the Day.
On the issue of politics, we certainly shouldn't participate in some of the "wink wink" identity assassinations and cheap shots against politicians who are real people, with real families and real situations. We need to be more honorable than that. I've certainly failed in this regard. But, we need to be people who are voting and participating surrounding issues, and not people who are baited into identity politics and the dumb celebrity culture conversations that dominate our political discussions.
Others of us need to choose some battles. We can refrain from ever taking a stand on an issue that is a "culture war" issue because we don't want to lose friends, be misunderstood, or be known as "one of those people". This is not what Christ calls us to either. We don't want to be defined by non-Gospel issues. We don't want to be the "First Pro-Life Church of Chicago" or something. But, on that issue specifically, . . . . .we can't let others define it as solely a political issue for us. Abortion is not a political issue for me. This is about murder, life, morals, and the rule of law. When those things are being violated, I stand up as a Christian and a Human Being, not as a Republican or Democrat, etc. . . . We may not want to be "about" politics. But, if we never stand for issues that aren't popular, we're just "about" cowardice.
(A quick note on "Mission" here. . . . . yes, we need to discern when a stand would hurt the mission of the Church and when we would bring unnecessary offense to the Gospel. But, remember that Jesus offended people, even as he showed some of them Grace. He did hang out with non-believers quite often and we should seek to find ways to do that, and be IN the lives of people who are far from God. But, citing "Mission" as a reason to not ever take an unpopular stand is not missional. It's just easy)
We would all do well to reflect where we are on this continuum. Do we need to stand less? Do we need to stand more? What would others say we are "all about"? Would that answer involve Jesus or the Gospel? What corrections should we seek to make?
Let's keep the main thing the main thing. . . . . and speak up on other issues as our consciences lead us and due to their importance for us.