I’ve never known our country so divided as it is now over this Brexit issue, One third voted to leave the EU, one third were undecided and didn’t bother to vote, one third voted to remain. What saddens me is how Christians are reacting to it. I felt the scriptures were very clear as to the heart of God in this issue; others came to a different conclusion using different scriptures. Still others didn’t use any scriptures but just said ‘I prayed about it’, and then started frying each other up on Facebook.
Because I feel deeply sad over the breakup of Europe and see it as a backward step for mission to the ‘Dark Continent’ and the millions of lost people of Europe, I found myself branded a ‘re-moaner’. And that put down hurt me. I don’t feel we are doomed because of this step. That’s not why I thanked God for the EU.
Years ago another generation really cared for a closed, lost Europe so much that they smuggled Bibles in at great risk. Then a miracle happened and ‘Iron Curtains’ and Berlin walls and border posts came down and God made it possible for us to travel freely in Europe, and many of the ones we prayed for and used to smuggle Bibles too started to come to the UK. Its been an amazing turn around! What a window of opportunity! We have been thrilled to have eastern Europeans in our home, staying in our home and hearing how thrilled they are to have been brought in from the cold. Open borders have resulted in more people getting into heaven
But some Christians have seen ‘open borders’ not as an opportunity to get more people into heaven but as a threat to our ‘British way’ of life. People have always spoken out about things they dislike. But it’s no longer enough to just disagree. Something changed with the referendum. Today, the game is all about crushing one’s opponent. Every plan, every strategy, every comment, every social media post seems designed to discredit, humiliate, vilify and exterminate the other side.
Many believers also seem to have caught the fever. God’s people have always differed with one another about many things, and you may disagree with my view, but we used to be able to disagree agreeably. In my London church we had a Labour Councillor, several members of the Labour party and also a Lib Dem councillor. When he stood to become our MP everyone gathered round him and prayed and supported his campaign resulting in the most narrow of defeats to high flyer Chuka Umunna. We all felt the pain of the lost opportunity for a fine Christian man to be in Parliament, even though we couldn’t go along with all his party’s policies. But, now it’s not sufficient to disagree. Many seem “led” to banish those with whom they disagree, to silence them, to marginalize them, to hurt them.
It’s not enough now it seems to engage in respectful debate about differences. Those with whom we disagree must be vanquished! Tell opposing members to leave and find another church! Fry them on Facebook!
This of course is what happened to Jesus. For the Pharisees and religious leaders, it wasn’t enough to disagree with Jesus. They sought to vanquish him. To fry him in a kangaroo court
But notice how Jesus treated them. He did not attempt to silence them; he did not ‘un- friend’ them. Instead, he listened to them, and offered his differing views. And he encouraged his followers to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Even when discord arose within his own community, he modelled love and acceptance. He didn’t banish Peter when he denied him. And Jesus didn’t vanquish Judas when he betrayed him. He just felt sad for him.
“If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.”
Lets not come down to the level of those who don’t know Jesus very well and don’t know any better.