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Andy Stanley - How Christians Should Approach Politics


Andy Stanley - How Christians Should Approach Politics

So today we are in Part Two of this series called Talking Points. The subtitle is, and I came up with the subtitle, you know, so blame me, The Perfect Blend of Politics and Religion, as if there could be a perfect blend, right? This is a series to make all of us uncomfortable and hopefully at the end, to make all of us better, because after all, the church should be the safest place in the world to talk about anything, right? And so the church should be the safest place in the world for us to talk about politics, although in our churches we rarely talk about politics. Besides that you're gonna be talking about politics all year long anyway, so we thought we should jump into the fray.

Now if you're a Christian, here's the tension, and this is where we left off last time we were together, and if you're not a Christian, you get to sit on the outside and judge us to see whether or not we do this very well. In fact my hunch is this: if we had done better what we're gonna talk about today, you may be more interested in the Christian faith or you may never have abandoned the Christian faith to begin with, so listen carefully. The tension for those of us who are Jesus followers is this: are we willing, or are we even able, I think that might be the better question, are we willing to put our faith filter ahead of our political filter? Are we willing to be Christ followers first and Republicans and Democrats and Libertarians and whatever else you might be, second? Are we willing to follow Jesus, this is the tough one, are we willing to follow Jesus when following Jesus creates space between us and our political party, space between us and our political platform, or the platform of our political party, and space between us and our political candidate?

Now to be clear I'm not suggesting that you not be political. I'm not suggesting that you not wade into politics, talk about politics or run for office. I think we should all lean into what's happening in our nation, and for those of you who feel called to enter the fray, you should step right in. But what I am suggesting is that we take what Jesus said, that we looked at last week, seriously. That we not allow the political climate to divide the church, any local church, or the church in general. Because Jesus, if you'll remember, the one thing Jesus prayed for, more than anything else He prayed for, in fact it was the thing He prayed for before He was crucified, was that His body, His movement and His Ecclesia, would not be divided. That we would be one. That we would figure out a way, which we are, to disagree politically, because we always will, but at the same time love unconditionally and begin to pray for unity.

Now the interesting thing is this: in the first century there was something they had in common with what happens in our culture as well, in the first century, when you read the gospels, it's so fascinating, everybody wanted Jesus to be on their side. In fact they would question Him and they would sort of try to pigeon hole Him and get Him to a corner to where He would agree with whatever it was their viewpoint was. Everybody wanted a piece of Jesus. They wanted Him to choose their side and that's true today. Both parties are convinced Jesus would be on their side if He were to walk, come back to earth today. Republicans are absolutely convinced Jesus would be a Republican because of their values. Democrats would say absolutely Jesus would be a Democrat because of His care, His concern for people.

And so everybody wants a piece of Jesus. And the interesting thing is this, if I were given the assignment, Andy, could you come up with a sermon that would demonstrate that in fact the Republican party and the Republican platform is in sync with the teaching of Jesus I could do that. And if somebody else were to come along and say, Andy, would you create a sermon that shows that the Democrat platform and their values is in sync with the teaching of Jesus, I could do that too. Because when you interpret the words of Jesus, when you interpret the words of Jesus through the filter of your political, through your political filter, it's amazing. He's so red. He's so blue. It's amazing how often he agrees with you.

So if you start with that filter, I mean there's plenty, and the truth is both sides quote the bible and both sides quote Jesus. The really funny thing is both sides actually use the same verses. So the question is this, can we put our Jesus following filter, our faith filter, ahead of our political filter and it's very, very difficult to do as we're gonna see today, but I'm gonna try to show you the way forward.

Now Tony Evans is a famous pastor. When I was in graduate school he was one of my professors. And I'll never forget this, this was during a lecture. And sometimes when you go to graduate school and you study theology and a lot of the professors also preach, and Tony Evans was at heart a preacher, so this one afternoon in this lecture hall full of students, he was teaching and then he kinda got into preaching. He was in black preacher mode and it was amazing and we were like clapping and cheering and he just kept going and he said some... This is almost 40 years ago and I remember this. He said, "Jesus did not come to take sides, He came to take over". But he said it a lot better than I just did, okay? It was so powerful.

I never forgot that and he's absolutely right. Jesus came, Jesus came to introduce the kingdom of God to earth, the kingdom of God values, the upside down kingdom where those with the wealth and the power, leverage their wealth and power and resources for those that have less power, less resource. The kingdom of God where the King laid down His life for His subjects rather than demanding His subjects lay down their lives for Him. The kingdom of God that was so broad and inclusive that He said that everybody's invited to participate in it. But the kingdom of God will always, perhaps, I think this is the case but this is just my opinion, the kingdom of God will always in some detail and at some level, conflict with the kingdoms of men. And the kingdom of God will always at some level, in some detail, conflict with your political party and the platform of your political party and our political candidates.

There's always gonna be a tension. And this is why it is absolutely foolish, it is so foolish for the church to ever be divided over a candidate or over a political party. Because at the end of the day no political party is probably gonna line up with the kingdom values of Jesus. Although each party has a little bit of it, even though that's difficult for some of us to acknowledge. But again, it's foolish for us to be divided because we're supposed to be kingdom people first, and political people second. But that's very, very difficult to do.

So here's what I'm gonna do today. I'm gonna give you a template, a very simple template, to help us understand where agreement ends and diverse opinions begin. To understand where agreement, because we're supposed to be one, we're not allowed, or we shouldn't allow any political party or candidate to divide the church of the Lord, Jesus Christ. So I'm gonna try to give you a little template to help us all understand where does agreement end and diverse opinions, especially diverse political opinions, begin. So to start with, the Apostle Paul, who, you know, we talk about all the time, the Apostle Paul steps out of the pages of history, as you know, as somebody who hates Christians. He was a Pharisee, he was brilliant, super educated, becomes a Jesus follower and he had the distinction of being a Roman citizen.

So he had all of this background, all of this stuff going on, and the Apostle Paul in two of his letters, gives a phrase that I think gives us a great starting point for putting together this template. And he uses a phrase that perhaps you've never seen before because he only uses it twice in the letters that survived antiquity, and the phrase is this: he refers to the law of Christ. The law of Christ. Now the law of Christ, as we're gonna discover, was his shorthand for Jesus' new covenant command, that we talk about all the time. When Jesus gathered with his disciples for the final Passover, he said, guys, I'm giving you a new command, this command is gonna be a substitute for all the other commands. You had 613, you had Torah, but I'm giving you a new command, because we're establishing a new covenant, and as you probably know, the new command was simple. It was you are to love one another, with a caveat, as I have loved you.

This isn't just a love fest. You are to love one another, this isn't one way, this is two way, you are to love one another as I have loved you. And then he said this: by this, by this unique brand of love, by this unique brand of new covenant love, everyone will know you're my disciple if you love one another. It's a two way thing, it's a community thing, it's a family thing, it's an all-skate, it's an everybody in there loving one another, but not just loving one another any way you wanna love one another. You are to take, Jesus would say, you're to take your cues from me.

So the Apostle Paul takes that idea and he pushes it through all of his letters as the uniting ethic for all Jesus' followers. And this phrase, the law of Christ, is the phrase he uses to take his readers back to that night and back to that big idea. The kingdom ethic, the marching orders for anyone who's a follower of Jesus. Here's a couple of examples: he writes this in his letter to Christians living in Corinth. He says, though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave, strong language, especially in a day and age when there were slaves everywhere, you couldn't go anywhere without seeing a slave, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to everyone, why Paul, to win as many as possible.

Paul says, look, I'm on a mission. I don't have much time left and I did a lot of damage to the church so I'm trying to make up for lost time and I'm willing to do anything short of sin to convince gentiles that God has done something on their behalf in the world. He continues, to those not having the law, talking about the law of Moses, the Torah, for those not having the law, that's gentiles, I became like one of those not having the law. In other words I became a Gentile in order to reach gentiles even though I'm Jewish. This is the extreme to which he's willing to go.

But then he qualifies it. He says, though I am not free from the law of God, to which a Jewish reader would say, wait a minute. You just said you're not under the law, you're not gonna act like somebody under the law, but you're not out from underneath the law of God, what are you talking about? So you've pulled out from underneath Torah, but somehow you're still under the law of God? Paul's saying, yeah, I'm still under God's authority, I'm just not under Torah. And then he tells us what law he is under and here's our phrase. He says, but I am under the law of Christ. There it is. So I'm no longer under the law of Moses, but I'm still under God's authority because I'm under the law of Christ. And what is the law of Christ? You are to love one another as I have loved you.

In his letter to Christians living in the Roman province of Galatia he says this, this is a little bit more descriptive. He says, carry each other's burdens. When you see somebody who's burdened financially, somebody who's burdened with kids, somebody's burdened with work, somebody's burdened with a physical ailment or has gotten tripped up in life, you are to carry one another's, and again, this is the each other thing, this is an everybody's in, this is the body of Christ functioning like the body. Carry each other's burdens and if you do, look at this, if you'll do that, you are fulfilling, and here it is again, the law of Christ. And what is the law of Christ? You are to love as I have loved you. You are to love one another as I have loved you.

So if you have a concern for someone, or I could say it this way, when the concerns of others concern you, when the concerns of others concern you, and you act on it, you are fulfilling the law of Christ. You are doing what Jesus told the disciples to do and again, the New Testament marching orders for those of us who are Jesus followers. So here's the thing, as Jesus followers, of all persuasions, regardless of your political persuasion, if you're a Jesus followers, the law of Christ, that is your marching orders, and the law of Christ should inform, over time, as we grow as Christians, our conscience. That our conscience should become hardwired into the law of Christ. So that when we do something that is in contrary to loving as Christ loved us, it should bother us, it should ding our conscience.

But not just our conscience personally, it should ding our collective conscience, that we should all be, as a group, as the body, we should all be disturbed, irritated or convicted by some of the same things. We should all be disturbed, irritated and convicted when we see injustice. Disturbed, irritated or convicted when we accidentally disrespect someone or accidentally don't give them what they deserve or we see somebody in culture being disrespected. When we see people undermining their own future, undermining their health, undermining their relationship with their kids, undermining the integrity of their family or the integrity of society, we should be moved by that. We should be moved to action. It should bother us, it should ding our conscience. Whenever we see somebody expressing autonomy that undermines their family. Autonomy that undermines the health of a community that should bother us.

Any time we or somebody within the bounds of Christianity, whenever we see them violating this law of Christ it should bother us collectively, our conscience should kind of go off. And when we see that outside the church, it should bother us as well and then we have to be measured in our response, but our collective conscience, the thing that just kind of sets us back, that moves us to apology, that moves us to action, it's all tied to this idea that you are to love other people, respect other people, recognize the dignity of other people the way that Christ said that I did for you. That I left Heaven for you. That I am not afraid of guilt by association.

If Jesus had been concerned about guilt by association He would have stayed in Heaven, right? So He's saying, I want you to take your cue about how you treat other people and how you treat each other from Me. Because according to Jesus, if you wanna set policy, what's good for people, that's what's good. What's best for people, that's what's best. So the law of Christ should inform our collective conscience.

Let me give you a couple of quick examples because as simple as that is, this is a powerful, powerful, powerful dynamic. In fact this dynamic shaped western culture. You hear me say that all the time but it's absolutely true. For example, once upon a time all over the world, everywhere in the world, every village, every town, every kingdom, it was self-evident, which means it was obvious, it was unquestioned, it was like, duh, it was like, why are we even talking about this, I mean it was just so obvious... Once upon a time it was self-evident that some people should be owned by and controlled by other people. That the whole idea of slavery, that people owning people was so self-evident it was not a moral issue. It was not even a question. It was just the way of things. It was just the way of things.

In fact, fourth century B.C., Aristotle, a philosopher, a Greek philosopher... A Greek philosopher, their responsibility was to make everything make sense in the world. We're gonna make science make sense, with the way that people act, the way that people behave. We're gonna try to make it all work together so there's one holistic understanding of how the world works. And so Aristotle, here's what he wrote, he said, for that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary, it's expedient. He's talking about slavery. It's not only is slavery necessary, it's expedient. I mean, there's just no way that the world would work without some people ruling over and controlling and dominating and owning other people. From the hour of their birth some are marked out for subjection and others for rule.

I mean the idea of doing away with slavery, it's like, that's not even a question. That's like saying the sun's not gonna come up. I mean it was just obvious. But fourth century A.D., after Christianity had taken hold and begun to take hold of the Roman Empire, St. Augustine, a fourth century Christian bishop said, no. Slavery is the result of sin. And suddenly a brand new idea is born from this brilliant mind in a world where there's still, slavery was just a permanent part of the landscape everywhere. Suddenly it begins to dawn on Christians as early, in fact, earlier than that, but you know, this is Augustine, he's a famous guy, St. Augustine, he said, no, slavery isn't expedient. Slavery isn't a part of nature. Slavery is the result of sin.

And as early as the fourth century A.D. Christians began having misgivings and began to see the discrepancy between what the scripture's saying about people being made in the image of God, and loving as Christ loved us and the horror of slavery. One more example, once upon a time it was self-evident, it was obvious, it was like nobody questioned it, that infanticide, or in the Roman world they call it exposure, that infanticide was good for society. In other words, it was the right thing to do, in fact, there were certain community laws and social laws in certain parts of the Roman Empire where you were required to allow your baby to die.

And in some cases it was because it was a girl, you didn't have a boy yet or you just didn't want a girl, you could just expose your child and the way it would work, you'd just take your baby and you place your baby outside the walls of your village, you place your baby on the edge of a forest, you place your baby down by the river, then you go home and legally you were not culpable for allowing your child to die or killing your child because the fates would decide the fate of your child. So you were innocent. And this was just the way it was. If a man suspected that his wife was pregnant by another man, when she had the baby, you took the baby and you'd expose the baby. If the baby had a birth defect, you expose the baby. If you didn't want another little girl, you expose the baby.

There was really no rules other than you couldn't take the baby's life yourself. This was just the way of things. This was self-evident. But Christians, from the very beginning, disagreed and Christians from the very beginning condemned exposure and condemned infanticide and they would eventually go out into the edges of the forest where children were often left, and down by the river, and they would bring these children into their own small homes with the little bit of food they had and begin to raise these children themselves.

But why? Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament rewarded it or encouraged it, right? Scripture didn't require it. So why did they do it? There was no verse that says, here's what you're supposed to do. It's because love required it. As they began to understand what it meant to be made in the image of God, when they began to understand the law of Christ, we are to love others as we have been loved, and to think about it. We were like little babies that were adopted into the kingdom of God. We had no clue what was going on while we were still sinners, Christ gave His life for us and suddenly there was a tension around, well again, it was just an expected tradition or expected practice all over the Roman Empire, that they began to rescue these babies.

And as Christianity began to take hold and began to make inroads into the Roman Empire, and as the Empire's conscience began to be affected by the teaching of Christianity. In the year 318, after embracing Christianity, Emperor Constantine declares infanticide a crime. Why the change? Because suddenly it became a conscience issue. Why did it become a conscience issue? Because of the teaching of Jesus and the unity of the church around the teaching of Jesus. In the year 374 Emperor Valentinian made exposure, you know, just setting your baby somewhere to die, a capital offense. You could lose your life if your baby lost its life because of your neglect.

This was amazing. But when the law of Christ, when the law of Christ informs an individual or a village or a city or a nation's conscience, things change. And there has been so much change even in our nation because of this very same dynamic. Because it's so brilliant, Jesus' single, new covenant command was so powerful, it was so ahead of its time, it was so modeled and baked in to the crucifixion and the resurrection that it is trans-cultural and it is trans-generational. It sits at the epicenter of the kingdom of God values. It will never go out of date, it doesn't have a shelf life. We are forever and ever, every generation, to do for others what God, through Christ, has done for us.

And that kind of ethic, and that kind of morality, is to inform our conscience and as we have influence in the world to inform the conscience of people who aren't even in the church and could care less about the church, this is why. This is why the church is so important. Because part of our responsibility is to be salt and light and being salt and light is we are to be the conscience of the nation, shape the conscience of the nation. It's also why we can not be divided. We dare not be divided, especially over political issues. Especially over candidates that come and they go. Political parties and platforms that come and they go, and they change.

And so it is incumbent upon us to figure out how to be one, as Jesus prayed we would be one, in spite of our political differences. And that leads us to the third part of our template, and that's this. The law of Christ informs our conscience and to an informed conscience we are to incorporate knowledge and wisdom, and let me explain why this is important. One of the great advantages of the human race is we are able to collect information and pass it to the next generation.

Okay, I've had several dogs. They're all equally dogs. None of 'em came in going, okay, I got this because my mama taught me and her mama taught her. Okay, they just can't do it, they're just, they just, they're dogs, right, animal kingdom. Which is wonderful. But humanity, because of writing. Writing allowed one generation to gift the next generation with everything they've learned, which gifted the next generation with everything they've learned. So consequently, every generation is smarter than the generation before and with knowledge comes extra wisdom and extra insight. And so as people of the 21st century, as we think about, what does it look like to live out this kingdom ethic, we should add to our informed conscience the knowledge of science, the knowledge of psychology and the wisdom that comes with understanding how our world works and understanding how we're made. So all of this works together.

Another way of thinking about it is this; if somebody asks you where do babies come from your answer to that question is determined by the age of the person asking, right? When a four-year-old asks, you don't lie to them, but you give them an answer, you accommodate to their capacity. When a 15-year-old asks, you would say, you should know by now. Okay, so if a 12-year-old... In other words, every age, if a 25-year-old is asking this question in graduate school context, in other words, we don't lie, but we always accommodate to the capacity of the person asking. This is so fascinating.

Your Heavenly Father, God, accommodates to the capacity of his people. So when we look at Genesis we see God accommodating to the capacity of an ancient, ancient, ancient, pre-science, you know, pre-Tylenol, never took a warm shower group of people, right? When Jesus manifested Himself, he says, the kingdom is come and I have come, as the King's son, I have come to dwell with you. He explains God, but he explains God in a way that the Old Testament doesn't quite explain, well, peoples' capacity has changed, things have changed, and every generation our knowledge increases, our insight increases and God's ability to help us understand how he made the world and how the world works increases.

And as Christians, and this is kind of a tension point, as Christians, we should be on the forefront, we should never resist science, we should never resist discovery, we should be the most curious people because our faith is tethered not to an interpretation of a text, our faith is tethered to an event in history, the resurrection of Jesus. So we don't need to fear new and we don't need to fear science. And every once in a while a generation comes along that kind of gets in a run and gun battle or a spittin' match, with science, and it's so foolish. So we should incorporate into our informed conscience the knowledge and the wisdom that comes with this age that's been handed to us by the people that came before. So the knowledge and wisdom combined with an informed conscience, that is what we should use, and that's what we should leverage to determine which policies and platform and legislation we support.

So let me go through it one more time. The law of Christ, if you're a Jesus follower, non-negotiable. An informed conscience, over time, as you learn more and more and follow Jesus longer, your conscience is gonna be shaped according to the law of Christ. Knowledge and wisdom, this is a bit intuitive, okay, this is why when your children get sick you don't call me, you call the doctor. Once upon a time when the children got sick they called the priest. But now you don't call the priest anymore, you call the doctor. Not because you don't believe in the healing power of God, but because we have accumulated knowledge and wisdom in terms of how the human body works and as Christians we don't see any conflict between those two things and I'll pray for your child, but you don't even call for prayer, right, for the most part, because you go to the doctor, doctor understands how the body works and off you go.

So we naturally and intuitively incorporate knowledge and wisdom into our thinking. But here's the rub. All that is kinda, yeah, Andy, I knew that, I didn't think of it in those terms, but no new information yet. Here's the rub: when it comes to this, when it comes to this, there will always be disagreement among Christians. When it comes to this there will always be disagreement among Christians. And the reason we will always disagree here, and this is where we have work to do, and this is where I hope that you'll be willing to move and that you'll be willing to be a little bit open minded, the reason that we will always have work to do here is this: because where you stand depends upon where you sit. Where you stand, where you take a stand depends upon where you sit.

This is, you may have heard this before. This is called Miles' Law. It was named for Rufus Miles who was a part of the Eisenhower, Kennedy and the Johnson administration. And this was his statement. And to kind of tease it out, here's what it means. That our cultural context, that's where we sit. Where you live, who you're related to, how much money you have, your cultural context, where you sit determines your perspective in life. It determines what you see, what you experience, how you see it and how you interpret it. And this is true for all of us.

This is why, if I can kind of push on you a little bit, this is why most of you don't see any conflict between your faith and your politics. None at all. You are loving this series because you have some friends who need to hear it, right? But you're good. It's like, yeah, amen, if this was an amen church, amen, Andy, people need to put their faith first and their politics second and that's why I'm a Republican, because when I put my faith first clearly the Republicans are right. Amen Andy, you're right, I'm with you 100% with you, I got my faith first that's why I'm a Democrat, right? Maybe. But probably not. Because your political views, you know this, they weren't shaped in a vacuum. And pausing to recognize this, and pausing long enough to incorporate this into your thinking is what it means to be mature.

And oh my goodness, do we need a little bit more maturity in the political discussion in our nation right now, right? Okay, so, that was a golf clap, I know. Amen, don't get me going, right? In fact, pausing to recognize this is the way forward. Pausing to recognize this is how the extremes, if they're mature, are willing to move toward the middle. Now understand, I'm not suggesting that we all get in the middle and we have a kumbaya moment and we all become some new party, we all agree on anything.

Let me say it again, that fourth line that I had up here a minute ago, there's always gonna be disagreement when it comes to policy, platform and legislation. And that's okay as long as we are mature enough not to allow it to divide us and if we're mature enough not to allow it to divide us, we will be better for the conversation. It's a step toward political unity and it's a step toward unity in spite of, I should say, political diversity. So, political views and values, you know this, political views and values, like all of your views and values, are shaped by a variety of things. Most of which we had or have no control over. And if we can acknowledge this and take a deep breath we all learn something and we don't change what we believe but we gain understanding in terms of why other people act the way they do and believe they way they do and we won't experience division.

Here's some of the things that impact the way you think and believe politically, right? Where we live. How we were raised. Where we were educated. If we were educated. What we've been told. What we've seen. What we've experienced and what we've seen others experience. These are the factors, and these are just a few, these are the dynamics that shape our political viewpoint. Perhaps the best evidence of this is if you think about your parents' political viewpoints. If I were to say to you why do you think your dad was a Republican. Why do you think your mom was just absolutely committed to be a Demo... Why? You would have an answer and you would relate it, not so much necessarily to their theology, but to the world they grew up in and the same is true for you and the same is true for me.

And that doesn't mean that we have dismissed the significance of our faith, not at all. It's that when these two things come together we have a tendency to use one to prop up the other. We all do. But what if, what if, especially over these next few months, we were able to step back and begin to view it just a little bit differently? Not change what you believe or who you vote for, but to just see it a little bit differently. Again, because where you stand depends on where you sit. And recognizing this allows us to open our hands and open our minds and open our hearts without changing our political viewpoint. But, beware. When you start down this road you may change some of what you think and even some of what you believe, but that's not the goal. That's just an unintended consequence or an unintended outcome. So, putting it all together, here's what it looks like. The law of Christ, informed conscience, knowledge and wisdom, policy platform and legislation. Now, that's not dynamic. That's just kind of an is.

So I wanna spend the next four and a half minutes making a suggestion in terms of what we do with this and what we do about this. And this isn't complicated and this isn't new and this isn't anything you haven't heard before. But sometimes you just gotta say what everybody knows so everybody remembers to do it. Three things, so simple. Begin to listen. Listen and specifically, listen to people who don't experience the world the way you do. Listen to people who don't experience the world the way you do. Not just the haves and the have-nots. The Christians and the not-Christians. Young and old. Black and white. Gay and straight. Married and single. New citizens, old citizens, people who've been in the military, people who despise the military.

Begin to listen to people who have experienced the world differently than the way you have. And number two, once you start listening, learn something, okay, don't just, well I listened but I'm not gonna think, no learn. Listen, come on, we're Christians. Again, our faith is tethered to an event. We don't need to be afraid of new information. We don't need to be afraid of new knowledge. We don't need to be afraid of new opinions. Be curious. I stole this Sam Harris, my favorite atheist, pay attention to the frontiers of your ignorance. I love that.

Pay attention, I tell myself that all the time, Andy, don't turn away, don't refuse to read that book, don't turn that off just 'cause it disagrees with your world view, pay attention to the frontiers of your ignorance. Be a student, not just a critic. You're an amazing critic, without one single lesson, amazing, you're just an amazing critic, right? I mean some of you mute the television so you can do your own commentary to your family. They love that, it's like, Dad, thank you. We know what you think, could you turn the volume back up, right? I mean we love it. But would you pause and would you become a student, not just a critic.

Otherwise, gonna push at you a little bit, otherwise you're gonna discount every bit of information, you're gonna discount anything that doesn't fit perfectly in your current flawed worldview. If you don't listen and you don't learn. If we don't listen to each other and learn from each other we will discount anything that doesn't fit perfectly within our flawed worldview. And we've quit learning. And when you quit learning something bad happens on the inside and you're better than that. And we should be better than that. Lemme put it this way, if you're a Democrat, your Republican brothers and sisters aren't crazy. They're not. If you're Republican, your Democrat brothers and sisters they're not crazy. Nobody's crazy. They just sit in a different place so they see the world in a different way. And as long as we catch ourselves saying, I don't know how anybody could believe that, you've just confessed something about you, not them.

I don't know how anybody could believe that, well then Andy, you don't know something. Learn it. Well I don't see how anybody could behave, I don't understand how anybody could behave that way. Well, there's something I don't understand. I don't know why anybody would react that way. Well there's something I don't understand. So why wouldn't we, especially within the body of Christ, take time to understand. Because, everybody's behavior makes perfect sense to them. Everybody's response makes perfect sense to them. Everybody's viewpoint, everybody's politics, makes perfect sense to them and when we don't understand it's because we don't understand. In fact, if you're a Republican, you need to know that Democrats are really just like you. And if you're a Democrat, you need to know the Republicans are just like you. They're taking a stand based upon where they sit.

Last thing. Third "L" word, love. Never, please, never, ever, ever burn a relational bridge over a political view. Never, ever, ever burn a re... well he say, well they started the fire. Okay, well they started the fire on their end of the bridge, don't start a fire on your end of the bridge. Never burn a bridge, a relational bridge over a political view because this goes back to Jesus' commandment. This goes back to the cross, this goes back to the epicenter of what we believe as Christians. The you beside you is more precious to God than your potentially flawed view. A view that you changed 10 years ago. A view that you're gonna change five years from now.

Do not burn down, burn a relational bridge over a political view. The you beside you is more precious to God than your potentially flawed view. While you and the person you're burning the bridge down with, while both of you were yet sinners, Christ died for both of you. How dare I, how dare I burn down a relational bridge with someone for whom Christ died? And how dare you do the same thing if you're a Jesus follower? So, come on, let's listen, let's learn and love. And again, like I said last week, I know you can't help but think this.

Andy, that's so naive, do you really think it's gonna make any difference? You just remember this; once upon a time there were a handful of Jesus followers crushed between an empire and the temple. And they gave to Caesar what was Caesar's and they gave to God what was God's, their lives. And now the empire is no more. The temple is no more. Rome's most famous emperor is nothing but a footnote in the story of Jesus of Nazareth. Kingdoms come, kingdoms go. Empires rise, empires fall. Jesus said, I'm gonna build my Ecclesia and nothing is ever going to stop it. And He did. And we've been invited to be part of it. And it is still the way forward. And our responsibility, especially in a season like this, is to show our divided nation and our divided world what it looks like, and that it's even possible to disagree politically, to love unconditionally while we pray for unity because at Calvary, at Calvary, at the cross, we lost our right to do anything less than that. So listen, learn and love and don't miss Part Three of Talking Points.
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