"Civil rights" never trump God's righteousness

Growing up, I played the card game Rook all the time with my friends. We had regular get togethers at our homes on weekends to play and whenever we went off to summer camp we would play late into the night by flashlight. The best part about Rook was that you were able to "trump" other cards in the game. Whatever color was called trump, that color was king and it beat the other cards on the table. And if you had the actual Rook card, you essentially ruled the Rook world for that hand. Your trump card could beat the others, even if it was lower in number.

In today's world, specifically in America, it seems as if everyone is looking for their own trump card that will allow them to have things their own way. We want to express ourselves however we want regardless of the consequences. And many people will step up to affirm your personal trump card even if they don't make the same life decisions that you have chosen to make. Helping others and being tolerant has the capacity to be a beautiful thing, and it certainly can be very Christ-like, but more often it is being grossly abused by our own personal trump cards.

At the heart of many American's personal desires is civil rights. The demand for the rights of freedom, liberty, life, the pursuit of happiness, equality, etc., pepper our media headlines everyday. As a nation, there may be no greater defining aspect than the rights that our citizens (and non-citizens) enjoy. The abolition of slavery, voting rights for all, and equal rights for African-Americans are some of the biggest victories for civil rights that we have seen in America.

As a Christian, I rejoice when injustices are righted and the oppressed are freed. Now more than ever there are faith-based advocacy groups who champion the rights of men, women, and children and fight to see them freed from the tyranny of slavery and oppression. Yet if you are a Christian it is so critically important that as you strive to reinforce the rights of others, you don't do so at the expense of the righteousness of God.

What does this mean? Look at the cause you are championing and ask yourself, "How does this fall in line with the righteousness and holiness of God?" I want to see children rescued from abusive homes, but I can never justify vigilante justice against a defendant who has not been given a fair trial. I desire to see an end to abortions, but I will never back the corner of a man or woman who bombs abortion clinics to satisfy that need. You see, while it is right and good for us to want others to have a fair chance in life, we all run the danger of sliding down a far steeper slope of unrighteousness if we are not careful. It is always dangerous to desire a group's victory at the expense of God's righteousness.

God's word is very clear in the areas of righteousness. Whether it is sexual sin (adultery, pornography, same sex, etc.), the harsh words that we speak to others, our immoral and selfish actions, or the insidious plans that we harbor in our minds, God's righteousness stands firmly opposed to these things. We cannot simply throw our trump card to back any sinful lifestyle or decision just because we want people to have a fair shake. In our zeal for the "civil rights" of others we are in danger of sacrificing our pursuit of the righteousness of God.

Christianity = Insanity

"When you heard a story 'bout the hero dying for the villain?"
(Trip Lee One Sixteen)
Let's go ahead and clear the air from the get go - there isn't much about what Jesus did on the cross for us that makes sense. Was His sacrifice beautiful, His love unconditional, His redemption of us incredible? Yes! Does it fit into our rational thought processes? No!

When we see someone guilty of a crime, especially one that is heinous and barbaric in our eyes, we want justice. For some that means the death penalty while for others they demand life in prison with no possibility of parole. Keep the criminals in their cages so that they can no longer prey on the weak and the innocent.

Question: If the Red Cross knocked on your door and asked if you would be willing to donate your organs - your very life - to a terminal death row inmate, how would you react? "Um, no thanks, but I appreciate the free snacks that you give when I donate blood." You see, that line of thinking just doesn't make sense. Why would we waste our good resources, time, and energy on someone who doesn't deserve it?

Thank God those thoughts weren't on Jesus' mind as He suffered, bled, and died on a cross that He didn't deserve for a people who don't deserve His sacrifice.

This, my friends, is the gospel. A loving God giving a perfect Savior to rescue a world that had been given a death sentence. (Romans 5:6-8)

This is more than prison rehabilitation; the gospel commutes our sentence and clears our record of guilt. (Romans 8:1)

This is more than some random act of kindness; the gospel is calculated grace. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

This is more than giving a released prisoner a job and new chance at life; the gospel brings the sinner to the very throne of God, who in turn adopts us and declares us heirs with Jesus for eternity. (Romans 8:14-17)

Now tell me, does this make sense to you? Why in the world would God do this for us? People are quick to blame God for all of the ugliness and evil that occurs on a daily basis, but are they just as quick to blame God for His incredible grace that sets them free?

I'm so thankful that Jesus bled and died for me. I will never fully understand why God loves me - and you - to the extent that He does. Following Jesus is without a doubt the craziest decision that you can possibly make. The gospel is nuts!

Who's got your back?

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