1 Corinthians 10:12-14 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. But God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.
Recently, in a meeting of Christian leaders, a man I admire who has been greatly used by the Lord burst out, “I hate Biden!” Everyone laughed. But I felt like I had been slapped in the face.
I still feel the sting—not from this incident alone, but from many similar experiences over the last few years, in speech and in print: Christians, people who claim Jesus as Lord, condemning and slandering other people; in some cases even breaking relationships over what they call politics–sometimes even using the name of God to do so. The pain is not because of any political beliefs I have; I’ve felt it from both sides of the aisle. I’m sure you have all experienced this.
When Paul wrote this chapter to the church of Corinth, he wrote in the context of idolatry. Perhaps today, he would illustrate idolatry with politics rather than food. Surely it hurts our Lord’s heart to see his people mired in fear and hatred rather than living into the freedom of trust and love for each other, no matter our political views. Didn’t Jesus spend a lot of his time teaching us to love our “enemies,” pray for them, seek to bless them? I do what is best for others so that many can be saved (verse 33).
I know this man’s outburst didn’t come from just his own mind and heart. It came from long listening to voices that for political ends instill and nurture fear and hatred, sometimes through half-truths and spin, making public discussion all about personalities. We’re all vulnerable to the impact of this twist.
I’ve started asking myself, Is this writer or speaker intentionally making me afraid or inducing in me feelings of anger or hatred of “them”—whoever the person or group may be? Are they making it about personalities rather than about policies? If so, I need to take a step back and reconsider what they claim to be facts, and free myself from those emotions, rather than nurturing them. And pray for God to rule my heart, not anything or anyone else.
My eye is caught again by verse 13, which I have underlined twice. God is faithful. Perhaps I am one whose conscience is oversensitive (v. 28-29; 1 Cor 8:9-12). But God is faithful. He IS love. Not because we’re lovely, but because he is loving. Are we showing him to the world?
Because God is faithful, I can choose to entrust to him my questions, doubts, feelings, worries, concerns, and grief. The Faithful One loves without favoritism. He is the One (the only one!) who one day will make all things right, not ANY person or ideology.
Growing up in the megalopolis of São Paulo was tough for our daughter Rachel. When we had the chance to leave the city and spend some time in nature, her whole demeanor changed. I could see the beauty and peacefulness of God’s creation nourishing her soul. Similarly, to recapture my own freedom, and the beauty of other people, I have to “fast” from the media and breathe the fresh air of simple relationship with my loving, faithful Father. I recommend it!