Communism and Compassion

Matthew 12: 7

But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.

Many of you know my background but for those who do not, I was a Political Science major in college. After college I went to law school and got my Juris Doctor degree. I was known in college for my conservative views and argued for small government which should be administered as closely to the people as possible, civil liberties, and privacy. I lean towards the writings of John Locke and away from Thomas Hobbes. I tell you this so that you will appreciate that communism is not a governmental model that I believe best meets the needs of its people nor does it guard individual liberty and privacy. This is where I come from, a conservative libertarian. The best government is one which least affects my life.

I have also believed that God chooses republican forms of government for us where individuals selected by the people administrate government on our behalf. For a long time now, my philosophical, religious and political views have lived in harmony. Imagine my surprise when I recently understood Father to teach me that He is not wedded to a form of government. He loves people, all people.

As this current crisis wears on, I watch as forms of government affect health care responses. I watch as people around the world struggle to balance freedom and their social conscious. Governments don’t necessarily represent the thoughts and concerns of individuals. Nor do the messages of those governments necessarily reflect the thoughts of the public. As I pondered all the questions of my mind in regard to governmental forms and power responding to a health care crisis, Jesus spoke to me. Please understand, it has taken me a while to grasp where he is leading me, and I am not sure I have it all yet.

Compassion – that is the theme of Jesus’ message to me. I have heard that word and wrestled with it for weeks. I find that Jesus’ compassion knows no political borders. Wherever people are suffering he is there. I found myself less concerned about communism than about the people dying in communist countries. Further, I am supposed to care about and pray for people regardless of their political affiliation or their country of residence. I cannot pray against China nor judge and criticize them. Now how do I reconcile my beliefs? Still, I am happy to find a change has occurred in me. I am so happy for nations who have fared well, but literally mourn over losses even in communist China. I absolutely feel compassion for China. No matter what the rhetoric, no matter what the failings, I keep coming back to Chinese people are dying too and I think, it doesn’t matter if you are communist or live in a democratic republic if it is your parent dying. Political choices make no difference to a person who cannot go see their loved one who is dying in a quarantined space. Compassion – that is the message.

We will have an opportunity to ask ourselves what changed in our lives during this historic time. I will say, “Never have I been more compassionate in my life. Never has the tenderness of God’s love so affected me such that I would eschew my political beliefs in favor of humanitarian sympathy.” I cannot tell you how surprised I am about this when the word “humanitarian” used to make me think, “Here comes some bleeding heart, liberal tripe.” In fact, I am embarrassed to know I thought that way. I hope, when this is all done and dusted, I will find I have grown personally and professionally. I hope my liberal friends will be able to tolerate me more and that my conservative friends will love the strength I have found in caring about others.

I believe we don’t win unless every country on the planet wins. I think if I cannot pray for China, Russia, and North Korea, I haven’t learned the lesson Jesus has brought me to. And I pray, that at the end of all this, he will be able to say to me, “Well done good and faithful servant.” This has been challenging for every one of us and don’t doubt it, but we can come through it personally stronger and improved.

I pray for you, my beloved. Though I don’t know each of your personal stories, I do know you are not getting to do some of the things you are accustomed to, you are not getting to travel, even see your family perhaps. Some of you have been sick, scared, angry, politicized, apathetic, and so on. Collectively we have run the gamut of human emotion and I know it has been hard on everyone. I am praying, compassionately, over you today, not in judgment or condemnation, but rather that you would find everything you need and that our Father will not only meet those needs but embrace you in His uncompromising love. Be blessed!

A Child is Born

Isaiah 9: 6

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

I find this a heart-warming passage as it brings to mind images of the baby Jesus and Christmas. It is also fascinating to me. In this one passage is so much explanation of the once foretold, now realized Messiah. Remembering that this is an Old Testament passage creates an understanding of pre-Christ expectations. Yet, I suspect most people who lived before Christ and even those who experienced Jesus didn’t fully appreciate what this passage reveals. I wonder how much I fail to see in it.

The book of Isaiah is my favorite Old Testament book and you can see why. The revelation God gave Isaiah of the Messiah was very detailed and complete. It was also imbued with the passion of Christ which, amazingly, Isaiah was able to transmit to us through his writing. We feel the enthusiasm of the coming Messiah even as Isaiah revealed that this Savior would come as a baby. That had to have rocked a few people off their feet. I am sure they were expecting a powerful, glorious being to descend from heaven to right all the wrongs and restore the nation of Israel. Instead, they got a baby, but hey, they shouldn’t have been so surprised. Isaiah told them a baby would be born and that this baby would be the son who is given to us from God; a gift of love.

People did grab a hold of the part about the government resting upon the savior’s shoulders but they didn’t understand. They thought he would come as a usurper, a military leader and that he would take over the government which ruled the nation of Israel. Of course, at the time of Jesus’ life on earth, Rome ruled over Israel. The Jews expected, therefore, a conquering hero. I don’t believe that is the vision Isaiah saw. The government spoke of was the government of the whole earth. This government truly is about the laws which govern the earth. Those laws go far beyond political institutions to include gravity, hydraulics, and all the physical laws as well as all of the spiritual laws, most of which we don’t even have names for. These spiritual laws are a bit reflected in the close of this verse where Jesus’ titles are given.

How is the babe, who is revealed as the son of God, also known as the Eternal Father? Spiritual conundrum # 1. He is the Mighty God and the Prince of Peace. How do those harmonize? In God’s kingdom, there is not tension between those two roles. Jesus is God the Father and the son, who is a prince. He is the God of might and yet the prince of peace. These two roles sound like they are in conflict, but it takes a God of gentle yet formidable power to bring about peace. His power is not a threat but rather a comfort. His power actually brings peace when we soak ourselves in it. It is His ability to cause all things to work together which ultimately eliminates conflict. There is no need to strive or try to best one another because in Him, all needs are met.

I hope you find comfort and peace in this passage today. Some prayers will make better sense now as you embrace God as Father and Son. In one breath, we speak to the Father, who is the son. The son has come. He was given to us; a child and a king. He is our Lord and yet our best friend, and even our father.

Let me leave you with one thing more to ponder, if Jesus is Father and Son, what does that make the Holy Spirit?

Rebellion, Ha!

Psalm 2: 1 – 3             (TPT)

How dare the nations plan a rebellion. Their foolish plots are futile! Look at how the power brokers of the world rise up to hold their summit as the rulers scheme and confer together against Yahweh and his Anointed King, saying: “Let’s come together and break away from the Creator.”

This psalm was written circa 1044 B.C. That is a long time ago, and yet, doesn’t it sound like it was written for now? I recommend you read the entire psalm in The Passion translation. It isn’t long. Despite these rulers’ intentional attempts to root Yahweh out of life and government, God has it well in hand. Verse four says He laughs at their vanity.

Let us not be fooled. There is intentional conduct aimed at tearing God’s influence out of our lives. For our part, the first thing we can do is pray every day for our countries and rulers. Don’t mislead yourself, or others into thinking, that every governmental official is an unbeliever. That’s just not true. What is perhaps true is that we probably do not support those believing governmental workers and officers sufficiently with prayer. I confess my guilt but today is a new day and we get a do over. We can start today praying for our government and countries. Secondly, pray for the leaders who are not saved. It’s not important that you decide who is who, just pray for them all. That makes it easy. Our efforts are best employed blessing people.

That is not to say, however, that we shouldn’t push back a little. How do we do that? It is never by speaking against someone. It is in becoming a blessing. If you walk around blessing people and flowing in the power of God then you will become an attractive force in your town. People want success. They want to be happy. If you can bring them that, then they will not wish to divorce themselves from God. This is the most important thing we can learn.

We have gone awry trying to flex political muscle by our numbers. We need to become a spiritual powerhouse rather than a political one, and this from a political science major and attorney. I have a new revelation of political power and it is minuscule and trumped by spiritual power. That is why Yahweh sits upon his throne and scoffs at the efforts of rulers and principalities. In the end their effort is in vain. However, in the meantime, people lives can be so much better if we will stand upon our covenant and proclaim the name and the favorable year of the Lord. If we will stand up and walk in the power, and the grace, of our dear Lord, then we will not have a political battle on our hands. We will only have the thousands of thousands seeking what we have. Let us come together and proclaim the good news of our Lord through demonstrations of his love and power.

Love Law

Romans 13: 10

Love does no wrong to a neighbor, love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.

If Paul is right and love is the fulfillment of the law, then we ought to know this verse by heart. Interestingly, I don’t really hear this verse bantered around very much. Paul derived this teaching directly from Jesus’ “One Commandment” message. Jesus gave us a new commandment, that we love one another, knowing that it would fulfill all the requirements of the law. Paul synthesizes that idea for us in today’s verse.

Love is a high hurdle. There are people we don’t like but God requires us to love them anyway. What does that really mean? How can you love someone you don’t like? Well, liking them may mean that you want to spend time with them, that you enjoy their company. Love means regardless of their personality or behaviors, you still want all God’s best for them. You pray for their salvation, blessing, etc. You are going to be tested when your prayers succeed though, so be warned. God will bless them because of you even if they don’t do anything worthy of his blessing. That is how He is. You might choke a little when they begin being blessed because you have stood in the gap for them for a long time. It’s okay. Just enjoy knowing your prayers are honored in God’s throne room.

This verse should be a lesson for every avenue of life. It applies to governments and diplomacy. It applies in businesses. It applies in every organization. Love never does any harm to another. There is a better way for you to succeed than to step on another human being or their business. We don’t succeed on the backs of other people. We succeed on eagle’s wings. That is the love principle and I tell you the truth, there is no power in the universe stronger than love.

Keep today’s verse in mind. Memorize it perhaps and let it guide all of your human interactions.