How Do You Know You're On The Right Side?
Someone asked me a question yesterday that I've been thinking about ever since.
I'd just finished preaching about the spiritual discipline of discernment, and how we can become more discerning and make better decisions by relying on our connection to the Holy Spirit of God within us.
My church member referenced the recent political turmoil in our country, and asked what I thought about the following premise: Two politicians on both sides of an issue voting against one another, both thinking they are doing God's will.
The essential question my church member was posing was this: "Who's right?"
I didn't have time to give a proper response yesterday after church, but I'd like to try to address it here---mostly because I'm pretty sure there are a bunch of us who are wondering the same thing.
How do we know what is right, good and true when it comes to the big issues we are facing as a society? Here's what I believe:
I believe that God is on the side of whatever promotes the common good.
I also believe that God is inclusive and welcoming so whatever promotes the common good would have to include a whole lot more people than we might imagine.
I also believe that if self-interest, greed, selfishness, arrogance, self-righteousness and pride are in any way part of what we are leaning toward---it's the wrong way to be leaning.
And I believe that in all things as Jesus-followers, we should actually try to follow Jesus, to love like Jesus, speak like Jesus and include like Jesus.I recently read this amazing quote from Charlotte Bronte, which she included in the preface to Jane Eyre in 1847:
Appearance should not be mistaken for truth; narrow human doctrines, that only tend to elate and magnify a few, should not be substituted for the world-redeeming creed of Christ.Come on! How awesome is that? If what we promote only tends to "elate and magnify a few," we're doing it wrong. Christ is bigger than that. God's love of the world (and us) through Christ is more expansive than that.
And we will know we are in the right when we err on the side of grace and unconditional love---the same grace and love we've been offered in our own brokenness and frailty.
May you find this to be true in your own decision-making, and daily life. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with now and always. Amen.