Jesus did not operate under a mindset of “we must protect the church from image problems, so let’s keep everything quiet.” Essentially every one of His critical comments while He walked the earth was directed at the Pharisees. He saw their approach to faith as hypocritical and lacking, and He saw no reason to keep quiet about that fact.
Fear and anxiety reflect a nature of doubting. When Jesus calms the storm (Matthew 8:23-27) after His disciples all panic, He replies “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” A while later when He walks on the water and they panic thinking He’s a ghost, He tells them not to be afraid. And when Peter steps out of the boat to walk with Him, it’s when Peter’s focus turns away from Jesus that he begins to sink. Jesus’ response: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
It’s so easy to fall into a mindset of fear and persecution. But granting others rights does not lessen our own. For centuries, Christians have had cultural advantages and freedoms in this country over other religions despite the words of the First Amendment. That is not how it should be. Freedom for all is freedom for one, and we need that to ensure we don’t move down the path of freedom for none.
I was wrong. Those three words seem so hard to say at first, but the more you say them the more freeing it becomes. Looking back, I recognize that I was trapped in a very pessimistic view of the world and my faith, always ready to throw stones. I’m glad I was wrong. Because it means we have hope for the future.
As human beings, we will likely never achieve the full greatness prescribed in the Declaration of Independence. But if our goal is forever to make America great, and we follow those words of our founding document, we can ensure each step is in the right direction.
“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” –Luke 9:25 This question (also found in Matthew 16:26 and Mark 8:36) has been constantly in the back of my mind over the past several years. I believe it is one of the most powerful questions …
Dehumanizing groups of people has always been a part of human history, and if anything, it is stronger than ever today. When the most powerful person on earth has spoken repeatedly of groups of people as “drug dealers, criminals, and rapists,” due only to their nationality, saying “these aren’t people. These are animals” about anyone (even gang members), and professing entire groups of people as “the enemy of the people” simply because they report things he doesn’t like (even if provably true), we need to reevaluate.