Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rules to Play By

“You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute as to turn aside after many to pervert justice. You shall not show partiality to a poor man in his dispute.” Exodus 23:1-3

With the recent shooting of the congresswoman in Arizona, the speaker’s race in Texas, and the Republican majority in the US House, there has been a lot of commentary on the rhetoric about politics and policy. On one hand you have those who would blame bad things that happen on what the other side is saying. On the other hand you have those who staunchly defend their right to say whatever they want, damn the consequences. Both sides have some merit to their arguments. Rhetoric can cause tempers to rise. Angry people do not do always do rational things. On the other hand, being angry does not justify inappropriate behavior. It is a personal choice to make bad decisions.

Having said all that, scripture does give us a good set of rules to play politics by. They are found in Exodus 23: 1-3.

  1. Do not tell lies. Trust me, there are enough bad things going on around here to make your point without having to make up stories.
  2. Do not tell lies about what you have seen or heard. [Don’t gossip about them either.]
  3. Do not follow a crowd to do evil. Think riots in Greece. Or, protests with rock throwing. Or, angry groups with legitimate concerns who make their point by not telling the truth about their opposition.
  4. Do not allow your testimony to pervert justice. Winning the issue is not worth the battle if justice does not prevail.
  5. Do not show partiality to a poor man. [This may merit an entire devotional on social justice at a later date.]
So, as you engage in the lively debates that are sure to go on this session, remember these rules. Make your point on issues with facts and opinions. Concede that the other side has a reason for believing what they do - they may even be correct in some circumstances. Remember that someone who disagrees with you is not necessarily your enemy.

Most of all, remember that you represent Christ here on earth. Session lasts for 140 days. The Kingdom of God is for eternity.

Lord, give me a Kingdom perspective in my day to day activities here on earth. Amen.

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