Why is the Church Trying to Control People?

While everyone is arguing about homosexual marriage and DOMA, I can’t stop wondering about role some Christians think they play in culture. Do we have the right to tell other people what to do? I sometimes feel like members of the church want the government to strong-arm their neighbors into accepting a Christian worldview. (Of course, this attitude isn’t just found in the church.)

You are entitled to disagree with homosexual lifestyles if you want – it’s a free country – but that doesn’t mean you should force your gay neighbors to do what you say. I’ve never seen a Bible verse that charged Christians with being the behavior police for the un-churched.

In the book of John, chapter 6, many disciples leave Jesus when they find His teachings to be too difficult, and He lets them go. He doesn’t chase them down or even try to stop them – He just lets them go. In the same way, I believe in respecting people’s choices; it is not my job to force my way of life on people. It is my job, however, to maintain my own devotion to Jesus. (Furthermore, no one ever followed Jesus because someone else forced it on them. If that worked, then the Christian governments of our history would still be in place.)

Jesus’ followers were not expecting him to be a vagrant; some of them wanted a ruler who would overthrow Rome, or lead their nation as a king on a throne. But Jesus left the corrupt Roman government in place while teaching his followers to love their Roman persecutors, and each other. (By the way, are we kind to our own government leaders in this way? I didn’t vote for President Obama, but I’ll never post disrespectful pictures of him.)

I understand that it would be nice if the government was a reflection of my personal belief system – and modern U.S. politics seems to be a struggle to see which group’s personal convictions will rule us – but I don’t think the church has been tasked with forcing everyone to behave as we do. Trying to control culture is impossible, but loving our neighbors and showing them the beauty of God through our own devotion is an attainable goal.

(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)
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