Surface level respect doesn't seem to go very far. Those who support each one seem to vilify the other, speaking ugly words of disrespect and hate.
Where should we who follow Christ fit in?
One group is concerned with personal morality, the other is focused on social justice.
When we bring religion into politics, can it turn people away from Christ? If I cannot agree with one set of ideas, yet that same idea set is anchored to Jesus, I may conclude that following Jesus is impossible.
Surely this breaks the heart of God.
Yet surely one passion is more important. Surely either personal morality or social justice should be our highest priority.
If I have a passion for justice, personal holiness may be simply a distraction.
If I desire to cultivate personal holiness, I may yet ignore working for justice in our world.
Perhaps, just perhaps, a balance is needed.
In describing what brings the wrath of God, Amos says
They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed. Father and son use the same girl and so profane my holy name. ~ Amos 2.7Personal holiness or justice in our world?
When describing the wickedness of Israel, Isaiah says
...He looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress. Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land...Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. ~ Isaiah 5.7-8, 11Personal holiness or justice in our world?
Jesus, when teaching the crowds how to live, spoke of refraining from lust, adultery and divorce. He also spoke of giving to the poor, refraining from overwork and resisting the siren call of materialism. All in the same chapter of the Bible. ~ Matthew 6
Personal holiness or justice in our world?
Perhaps, just perhaps, we should not choose one to the exclusion of the other. Perhaps we should strive to attain both ideals, following all of what Jesus teaches us rather than excusing away half of His commands.
And what should we do with each other? What do we do with our brother or sister who insists that another course is highest?
Perhaps we should speak of that next week.