Genesis 12:2-3 “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (emphasis mine)
I’ve heard this one preached a few times. Come on, this one preaches well. I also got it in a missions course in college. From the very beginning, the ‘chosen’ weren’t chosen in isolation; it was always a means to redeem everyone. Everyone who recognizes God at work in his people and responds, who wants to come along side and participate is welcome. The chosen are not chosen because they are worthy but because God is merciful and has a plan.
So here’s the thing I’m thinking today: if the world isn’t blessed by us, are we doing it right?
Yes, yes, I know. New Testament Christians and the Old Testament chosen people are not the same thing, exactly. But we are still his people. We are still his presence in the world. If people who interact with us don’t just walk away without being blessed but in pain, well…
Hot take: (seriously, I’m going to offend a lot of people with this, but I’m going to take a deep breath, brace myself, and say it anyway) Trying to make space in your community for other ways of life, even other religions, is not persecuting you for your beliefs. Even, here we go, even keeping your faith out of official public spaces, and I mean out of school curriculum and off platforms, not giving you the mic, is not silencing you. Requiring you to share the mic with other religions and beliefs is not silencing you.
And…legislating morality, making your faith law, denying other religions (or rejection there of) land or equal representation in government and public spaces and sporting events…this is not being a blessing. This is not defending your rights or your faith. This is attacking and suppressing someone else’s. You can’t cry for separation of church and state when it serves you and then demand the state support your position because we’re a ‘christian nation.’ We will have enough enemies in this world without making more by going on the offensive.
I’m not saying that we need to accept every behavior, be inclusive to the point of universalism. I’m saying we need to greet people with compassion. Everyone needs to feel welcome by us and convicted, if necessary, by the Word of God. They need love and support while they respond, guidance when they ask for it. We are to be a kingdom of priests, ushering people closer to God, not a kingdom of judges, pronouncing the wrath of God.
Another way to look at it? Stop taking things personally. Or, rather, start taking them in humility. Maybe there are a few things we need to take personally, look closer at, adjust. Maybe there are a few ways we’ve taken human tradition and placed it above the Word of God. But even if there is an attack against our faith, we need to remember it’s an attack against our faith, not us, not our way of life, not our culture. A genuine act of persecution is against our faith, our Lord, and we should respond as Christ responded: with faithful perseverance and love.