Viewing the Law From a Lens of Love

elijah-o-donnell-t8T_yUgCKSM-unsplashTrigger-warning: While I’m not looking to use this article to sway anyone from one political party to another or to plant my flag on any particular issue, it will touch on politics and Jesus so if you’re put off by either, I’d get out now.

With our current polarized state of Facebook rant battles and an increasing demand on people to choose a side, I’ve mostly shyed away from writing politically fueled articles. Because I’m a mature, objective member of humanity who doesn’t stoop as low as the internet trolls? No, because I’m a prideful, people-pleaser like everyone else and care too much about what people think of me.

But when I read Romans 13: 8 – 13, I felt compelled to share the strong connection I saw between the text and today’s state of the union. It helped give my inner turmoil regarding today’s politics some clarity.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

While this isn’t referring to the law of the land, we can let it shed light on America’s current reality. As Christians, our allegiance to political parties or positions isn’t supposed to be fueled by pride, self-righteousness, self-gain, or even patriotism. It’s not supposed to be based on our skin color or where we came from. It’s not supposed to be in exchange for bigger tax breaks or more freedom to do as we please. It’s supposed to be fueled by love. More specifically, loving our neighbor as ourselves. This may sound like an oversimplification, but life’s most impactful truths often are that simple.

I believe the chaos in our nation serves as an opportunity to rise above the noise we hear on the news, social media, or at the water cooler and ask ourselves – are my political stances fueled by a need to preserve myself and the legacy of my nation or is it to fulfill Christ’s legacy of loving others like He loved us? Are they fueled by a need to shake our fists at anyone who dare take away our rights to carry a gun, have an abortion, or get a hefty tax break or is it to stand up for what is actually right? While love can’t erase the law, can’t it be the lens we view the law through?

I think these questions demand some level of transparently on my part. I will use two issues that I feel particularly strongly about that lie on opposite ends of the spectrum as examples; I am pro-life and it’s one of the issues I haven’t wavered from. As a Christian, I believe that life begins immediately in the womb and if you’re a Christian, I can only assume you believe the same. You might say that I’m being as staunch about abortion as the people I’m accusing of being too left or right-winged but if we’re called to look at this issue through the lens of love, can we honestly believe that ending the life of a child because it’s the mother’s right to do so is loving? Is it loving to abort a handicapped fetus because the parents would rather have a healthy baby? Is it loving to have an abortion in favor of focusing on a career or continuing an education? I am all too aware of the horrific circumstances under which some women get abortions and my heart breaks for anyone who has to make such a difficult choice, but is it loving to punish a child for something they had no part of?

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I recently read that Trump deployed “elite ICE tactical teams” from the border to sanctuary cities to uncover illegal immigrants and send them back to their home countries. What makes the trauma and irreversible damage that this will cause undocumented children even worse is the callous narrative circulating among conservatives that paint all undocumented people as criminals with no other agenda than to steal from and destroy our nation. I am a legal immigrant of the U.S. because my parents fought long and hard to bring me here, but it took 13 years and lots of money. Time and money that many of these people fleeing their countries don’t have. Do we honestly have peace about sending SWAT teams to break up families who came here in hopes of a better life? Even if you’re unrelenting in your position that this is the only way to resolve it, shouldn’t an issue that causes innocent children to become collateral damage be treated with the utmost care, empathy, and brokenness? If it was you who had to make the choice between keeping your family in an environment of crime, poverty, and drugs, and fleeing to another country illegally, wouldn’t you want to be shown the same grace that we’re failing to show the undocumented population in America? Shouldn’t we be praying for them more than we’re protesting against them? On another note, is undocumented people really America’s most dire problem and where we should be funneling our resources to? What about the opiate crisis? Gun violence? I digress.

My point isn’t to publicize my own views as much as it’s to make a point. Not every issue on the political landscape is so black or white or in this case, left or right. In a nation where we’ve drawn harsh lines in the sand and refuse to see past our own convictions, I’m convinced that there’s more to learn from each other than we think.

My final plea to Christians, Democrats and Republicans alike, is this: whether you’re voting, posting on Facebook, or engaging in a political debate about a sensitive topic, I pray that you won’t let national pride and your desire for wealth, comfort, or political allegiance lead your actions. I pray that you’ll value your citizenship in God’s kingdom over your citizenship of this nation. I pray that you’ll adhere to the moral code of God’s Word over that of our politicians. Above all, I pray that you’ll show the same level of grace and forgiveness that you’ve been shown by your Heavenly Father because if we all got what we deserved, we wouldn’t be reading this article. While bi-partisan unity feels like a pipe dream, I strongly believe we can significantly improve the tone of our nation if we let love lead the way.

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