In recent weeks, groups of Americans disillussioned with the direction the country is going have attempted to bring several issues to the forefront by staging non violent protests in the form of sit-ins in various parts of the country. These movements are being staged on Wall Street, in Boston, Atlanta, Charlotte and numerous cities not only in American, but also in London, Jakarta, Melbourne, Paris and Toronto.Christian Science Monitor
While many of the faces in the movement are younger individuals, and while the purpose behind the movement may fail to demonstrate a single theme, the very fact that people around the globe are sensing a need to bond in a movement that is loosely connected by similar needs or views demonstrates two important things. One, things are not as they should be in the world, and two, people, even strangers can unite when they believe something strongly.
From the dawn of time everything from protests to major insurrections have stirred the globe’s soul. Some have been peaceful, many have not. From Tienanmen Square to Kent State, Bosnia to Greece, Little Rock to Rwanda, the world has seen how a reaction can cause an action and vice versa. Whether supporting abortion or begging for its repeal, struggling to free citizens in a bondage government or seeking a right to sit at the same table as someone with a different skin color from peace signs to dollar signs, there will always be something that moves the human spirit.
This is not about whether the OCCUPY movement is right or wrong or even whether any protest is good or bad. This is about recognizing personal responsibility as a Christian. Christianity has evolved from its share of protests and battles. We live in a fallen world and the lack of complete justice and perfection is proof that we cannot attain paradise here. This does not mean we should not try to strive for making the world a better place.
So how then should Christians react to movements? I propose we need to take a good look at biblical teaching.
We know from John 16:33, in this world we will have trouble. We also know we have been taught “to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”(Matthew 22:21) as well as to,”…turn the other cheek”(Matthew 5:39) or to”… fight bravely for the cities of our God.” (1 Chronicles 19:13)
So how do we respond to issues that stir our soul? If we resolve to approach an issue with a sound biblical background, we should then use discernment and seek wise counsel before we react.In James 3:17, we are told, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.This does not necessarily mean Christians should never carry a banner, sign a petition, be part of a sit in or even refuse to comply with a man made law. It does mean however that we need to look at both sides of the issue and react in a way that can make a difference without causing us to slander or abandon our Christian perspective. Walking to repeal abortion is far different from killing doctors who perform them(abortions). Staging a sit in is quite different than storming an embassy and speaking out against inequality is different than placing IED’s on the roadside. We won’t win a war with words or change all of life with a sign or a few sit-ins. But, we do have a responsibility to take a stand against injustice, inequality and inhumanity and we must do so after learning the facts, and seeking the biblical perspective on the best way to address the issues so that we represent solidarity that is peace-loving, full of mercy, impartial and considerate. We have an obligation on both ends and whatever that means for us, however we demonstrate, our role as Christians must first and foremost be to determine if the actions we take to make changes are sanctioned in a biblical way.
The world is and always was less than perfect. There are countless political, economical and relational issues requiring attention and demanding action. It is certainly not about whether it is Christian to carry a placard, protest, or occupy. It is about whether what we do is done because of a biblical principle and in a biblical way. That is not contradictory, nor is it Pollyanna, it simple is what we are told.
God knows there will be trouble. He knows we will be asked to stand up and fight but we must first be sure we are fighting for God’s principles, by His rules and with His direction and then we need to go out and do it with His armor, not only because we can but because we should. We are never asked to put our head in the sand but we are told how to defend our beliefs and whatever that means for you or I must be within the confines of this biblical admonishment.
What is God asking you to fight for or against?Are you sure it is His request and not simply your emotions? How can we best display a Christian effort fighting for or against a cause?