January 12, 2013
In reading Doug Kneibert’s response to Bonnie Erbe’s Jan. 1 column (“Loss of Christians’ political power will be a blessing for all of us”) regarding the loss of Christian political power being a blessing for us all (I am assuming she means us as a nation), it serves to remind me of how true it is that perception is everything.
The last line of Kneibert’s letter was a question as to “what ever happened to those days when liberals were noted for their tolerance of all viewpoints?” I would have to say that those days have ebbed away as points of faith were being pushed toward becoming “laws” of the land. We are a country based on religious freedom, which also means a freedom to not believe in the same or any “religion.” I believe most liberals would be fine with whatever “viewpoint” you may choose to have, it is only when attempting to force everyone to live by your viewpoint that problems arise.
Our faith walk and relationship with our God is something each of us chose freely, as God intended. Therefore our choices to abide by God’s laws is done out of our desire to please Him. When you force people to embrace beliefs and behaviors who have not made the choice to follow God, you take away their freedom.
As I have grown in my walk with God, I have come to embrace the Hebraic roots of our Christianity. I keep the dietary laws as ascribed in the book of Leviticus, not eating pork or shellfish as is the practice of most Messianic Christians. Does that mean that we should close down all pork production, and make it illegal to sell, raise or eat these things since they, too, are plainly listed in the Bible as a command of God “from generation to generation?” I hardly think so. Each religious sector in this country differs in practices and doctrines. So, whose do we follow? If it were so simple, there would not be so many different denominations.
In the beginning of President Barack Obama’s first term, many Christians were predicting the implementing of Sharia law in this country. In Muslim countries, people are forced to follow extreme fundamentalism whether that be their beliefs or not. Why is it so hard to see that Christian conservatives are doing pretty close to the same thing? To me, that was the crux of Erbe’s commentary.
In all my study of scripture, both Old and New Testament, I don’t recall Jesus lambasting the Romans or Greeks for not following Torah (God’s laws). He was teaching His followers, those who had “signed on,” so to speak.
If the professing Christians spent as much time insuring they were walking after Christ and following His examples instead of trying to force non-believers or even “different” believers to act like Christ, more people might be drawn to God.
Ultimately, as a believer, we will all stand before God to be judged. It is not our place to judge believers or nonbelievers. Not judging is not the same as condoning. We are all only held accountable for our actions — no one else’s.
Personally, I have a full-time job on my hands working on all the areas I fall short in. Again, those are the things I will be accountable for.
Joni Dillon, of Sedalia, is a health care worker.
— Joni Dillon is a guest commentator