January 10, 2013

Resolving Divisions Within a Christian's Heart

Quotations are from Oswald Chambers’ devotional My Utmost for His Highest by date indicated

This blog began brewing back in April 2012, when the residents of North Carolina, the U.S. state in which I live, were clawing at each other’s eyes over a proposed amendment to the state constitution to exclude homosexual unions or non-married, cohabitating couples from being legally recognized as marriages by the state.

It was a heated battle. Opinions couldn’t have been stronger. It seemed as if every other lawn hoisted a yard sign stating ‘VOTE FOR’ or ‘VOTE AGAINST’ Amendment One. I wondered why money was wasted on advertising; the subject was much too personal for anyone to be indifferent. I doubt that any laminated poster ever swayed a voter on the issue.

Facebook status updates scrolled opinion after conflicting opinion. Defenses and fiery retorts cluttered my newsfeed like a thousand points of light. It made me uncomfortable reading the heated emotion behind the posts. I knew that each person had only one vote to cast. Fanaticism from either position was not swaying votes; it was only raising blood pressures and arousing offense. The cyber fumes were obnoxious even from behind the shield of a computer screen. 

I knew that there was no way to debate enough for everyone to reach a civil compromise. I knew this because the indecision was not only a public divide but a personal one. My logic conceded with one side and my conviction with the other. Advocates of both platforms felt justified and I agreed with both of them. And yet I knew when I stepped up to the ballot box, that I would make the hard vote the same way I make hard decisions when my wants and my will are at odds. I didn’t expect most voters to share my tactical approach to making the decision and so I kept my deliberations mostly to myself. Now that the vote is long past, I thought it might be timely to discuss resolving the internal divide.

The most convincing argument to vote against Amendment One was that the matter was a “human rights issue not a religious issue”. Human rights, per the Declaration of Independence, specify the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Every person has a different interpretation of his pursuit of happiness. If one’s lifestyle is condemned by the government then their liberty and happiness is infringed upon as well. I do not condone government having the authority to impose limitations on a citizen’s pursuit of happiness as long as that pursuit is not harmful to anyone else.

This is the voice of my logic, but I am a child of the fall. I have a wayward instincts and I know it.

Independent of a divine authority, human rights ARE preeminent in our society. But if there is a God, then the freedom to negotiate human rights is gone. As a child of the cross, I have lost my rights to human rights. The day that I encountered a holy God and asked Him to cover my sins with His blood, the pardon was granted in exchange for my absolute surrender. My body, time, talents, money, and decisions are no longer my own. I cannot expend anything according to my natural instincts and remain obedient to the divine authority whose pardon determines my eternal destination.

“Any fool can insist on his rights, and any devil will see that he gets them; but the Sermon on the Mount [Matthew chapters 5-7] means that the only right the saint will insist on is the right to give up his rights.” ~ May 24

My rights are gone because I surrendered them, willingly.

Yes, that was a choice I made. You may not have made that choice. I understand if your logic requires that human rights still reign supreme. You are not unwise, you are just unsaved. I was once too and the shadow of that self is not so long gone that I cannot easily remember her.

My rights remain gone because I surrender them, continually.

“Jesus never insists on having authority; He never says - Thou shalt. He leaves us perfectly free – so free that we can spit in His face, as men did; so free that we can put Him to death, as men did; and He will never say a word [Matthew 27:13-14]. But when His life has been created in me by His Redemption, I instantly recognize His right to absolute authority over me. It is a moral domination.” ~ July 19

I am morally dominated. Do I enjoy it? Not always. Would it be more gratifying to shirk discipline, dismiss conviction, and indulge in every human right the American way promotes?   Of course it would; I am still woefully human and easily tempted. The catcalls of pleasure never remain silent for long. But to renounce Jesus’ authority would cost me so much more than a lifetime of forsaken pleasures.

“According to the Bible, sin in its final analysis is not a defect but defiance, a defiance that means death to the life of God in us. Sin is seen not only in selfishness, but in what men call unselfishness. It is possible to have such sympathy with our fellow-men as to be guilty of red-handed rebellion against God.” ~ May 22

Promoting homosexuality because I am sympathetic toward their pursuit of happiness would be red-handed rebellion against God. Consoling a lover with sex when we are not married because love should be generous would be red-handed rebellion against God.   Stealing from the rich to give to the poor because I am sympathetic to their unmet needs would be red-handed rebellion against God. I am not at liberty to exercise certain forms of sympathy, although I am gravely sympathetic!  Do not think I deem myself incapable of such red-handed rebellion. The internal divide exists.  The choice of allegiance is made daily.

Do not be deceived, you too practice a hierarchy of allegiance. The liberties you exercise or don’t exercise reveal which authorities you honor.

“Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own;
it is not for them to direct their steps.”
 ~ Jeremiah 10:23

Previously written blogs about Christian allegiance can be found at:

No comments: