Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Emails With An Agenda

My dearest friend made me think this morning. First of all, I mean no offense to anyone through this post because I might get a little ranty-ravey. It might exist in your experience, or not.

We have noticed that we receive email that does not represent our understanding of God’s sovereignty and love. Perhaps, it stems from what Sarah Mae wrote about in, More Conservative, Less Compassionate?

Some of these emails, labeling themselves conservative Christian, do not express my understanding of sovereignty and love; in that, I believe that God has complete ultimate control over the state of the world and everything in it; and, therefore, I am free to love without fear.

All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does what he wills with the host of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. There is no one who can stay his hand or say to him, “What are you doing?” (Daniel 4:35, NRSV)

I, also, believe that God has ultimate control of everyone in government, throughout the world.

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will (Proverbs 21:1, NRSV).

So, the state of the world does not scare me. I am under the ultimate authority of God.

Hebrews 11:3, NRSV, states, “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.”

That is the God that I serve, He is so powerful that He formed the worlds by God’s word. Change in foreign policy does not scare me. I have the hope of salvation, prayer and the Holy Spirit. There is no army that can contend with that…and no one can make me be afraid!

Therefore, I believe, without hesitation, that this verse includes me, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment (Romans 13:1 & 2, NRSV).

The email that hurts my heart tries to define the “earthly” enemy. Oh, there are so many and I could finish all my laundry in the same time that it took to start the list. My understanding of the enemy, that is truly formidable, is the unseen. My list would say, #1 THE UNSEEN. It is crucial to remember that even the unseen cannot take away God's promise. So, earthly enemies, forget about it (said with accent).

Jesus did not malign groups of people, passive aggressively. He did not write down slurs on scraps and pass them around the market place. If there was business to be done, he spoke to the face of the man, the woman, Pharisee, the Sadducee, the scribe, the priest, and the leaders of Rome.

This might be the ranty ravey part, so cover your eyes if it is too much. I believe that email, for some, has evolved into a way to avoid our responsibility of relationship. Jesus spoke in relationship. Unless we would speak the content of our email to a Muslim friend, or a liberal friend, we must stop opening doors for Satan to forward hate to the world.

These verses serve to keep me in check so often. “Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. You say, “We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.”(Romans 2:1 & 2, NRSV).

I stole this phrase, because I struggle with judgment. Instead of offering my worthless ten cents, I remember what I would do to myself, condemn. Then I just try to say, “I know that God’s judgment on this is in accordance with truth”. I trust His judgment over mine, any day.

So, back to our email…this morning my friend received something. Content is not important. I admire the response, it spoke truth. Please, remember, there are political and personal views expressed here, but that is not the point. It was sent with a request to be taken off the forward list, but welcoming any personal notes from the sender in the future.

“I have a zero tolerance policy for hatemongering disguised as "conservatism". Whether it is hateful bashing of a president that I wish we didn't have… but we do (we still need to pray for him -- God allowed Israel some terrible kings). Or it is this most recent "those enemy Muslims" email (if all non-Jesus believers had been locked up or burned at the stake, we wouldn't be here… we are all the products of faithlessness -- ALL loved the same by the same God. God's heart is for them EVERY bit as much as it is for me. Christ's sacrifice EVERY bit as much for that unbeliever as it was for THIS unbeliever. So "They don't even believe in Jesus" emails don't cut it with me. That's the kind of intolerant crap that almost cost me a faith in God.”

See…there is so much at stake.

My husband came to me later with this quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s, A Testament to Freedom,

“Let us in this hour gratefully consider that we all belong to this church, that God has called us to be his children and made us brethren, that there cannot be any hate or enmity, but only the best will to understand each other. Otherwise we would not be worthy to bear the name of Christ, we would offend the glory of God, who is a God of love and not hate.”

Just something to think about before you send, or after you receive, an email…

How do you feel about email-with-an-agenda?

Father, thank you for your mercy. We need it. Illuminate all the areas of life that we encourage discord and hate. Let us not be used to spread hate and judgment. Let us bring love and peace to Your world.

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