One need look no further than the current “Debt Crisis” in our nation’s capitol to see the devastating effects of politics. I have long heard the saying that the term, “politicians,” means “many blood suckers.” This rationale comes from a rather funny use of the term’s etymology: poly (many) ticks (blood suckers). Now any sane person knows that is not a correct etymology of the word, but at the same time it seems to be an appropriate definition of the politicians in D.C. who seem bent on making life tougher on the little men and women. They want to suck the life right out of the average Joe!
The political posturing that we see taking place in Washington limits any real solutions taking place. It is holding back our nation from recovering economically. As long as this brand of politics continues to play itself out, our nation will continue to decline, more people will be out of work, more folks will be scared of being out of work, inflation will continue to become a larger problem which in turn will effect everyone’s paycheck. Politics are simply devastating! Political maneuvering holds everyone back from where their potential could take them.
Unfortunately, the same thing could be said about many of our Southern Baptist Churches. I recently talked with a woman from another local church. She is looking for a church that she can place her trust in. She was hurt pretty badly by petty political games in her former church. She believed that the church existed to serve God as His ambassadors to a lost and dying world, yet in her case, the church she attended, for many years I might add, was more concerned about their own personal preferences and comforts. Politics created such a stalemate in their church that no one could get anything ministry related accomplished. Things were always debated over and tabled until later meetings in which they would be tabled again. Just like those in Washington who are attempting to kick the debt crisis down the road again, there were those in power at this church who just kept kicking ministry down the road. I have heard and witnessed many similarly tragic cases of politics dividing Southern Baptist Churches. Brothers and Sisters, this should not be in the Church of Jesus Christ. We should not be wounding our own people without need!
The Bible says, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3). As Southern Baptists we believe that “Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes” (BF&M 2000). As such, we can have disagreements about how to proceed in ministry, but we must not hinder ministry by not coming to a consensus. We can have healthy debate, under the Lordship of Christ, in the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, without hindering ministry, if we allow the authority of Scripture to be our sole guiding light. If we remove personal preference and comfort from the picture and focus on Christ and the mission He has given us, then we will be able to preserve the unity of the church and do ministry at the same time.
Southern Baptists, let us endeavor to not resemble the mess going on in Washington , D.C. Let us endeavor to view each other not as enemies, but as brothers and sisters who were undeservingly grafted into the family of God by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing Grace. None of us deserve the privileged position we have in Christ! But because He has chosen to grace us with such a high honor, let us endeavor to act like true believers. As Paul says, let us, “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.” Let us not try to suck the life (the blood) right out of one another! Who knows if we get this perspective right, we may just realize who the real enemy is and unite against him with the greatest weapon we have been given, the Gospel, wielded by the most powerful body on earth, the Church. Maybe, just maybe, if we do, Washington might follow our lead!
Fight disunity wherever it exists, if you hear a brother or sister talking bad about another brother or sister, stop them dead in their tracks and tell them that is not how the family of God should act. When politics rears its ugly head, fight for unity! God will not fail, He must prevail. Brothers and sisters, don’t hurt other brothers and sisters needlessly! Stop the bloodletting in our churches! Please!