I was reading the following article tonight and it prompted me to write:
People have been claiming that the end is sight ever since… well… since people could say those words. I still find it surprising though that people actually bank on that kind of a worldview. From global warming to nuclear war, the pessimists out there have been calling out like Chicken Little for as long as I can remember. I find this disappointing, because, while I do have the occasional negative day, I don’t sit and dwell on the end times at the expense of living in the present.
Last time I remember, Jesus gave us instructions to stick around and to live our lives according to God’s rules. We weren’t to pack up and wait for Jesus to come back. Some instructions:
- “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. […] And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.'” (Matt 22:37-40)
- “I am going to send you what my Father has promised, but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)
I could quote numerous other passages, but the point is this: Jesus directs us to live according to his principles in the world. As we read in John (John 17:14-19), we are in the world but not of the world. We are all visitors here on Earth and we are here for a brief amount of time. As visitors, should we foster a positive or a negative perspective towards others?
Church history is full of urgent appeals based on the understanding that the end is near. Unfortunately, these battle-plagued end times scenarios have never turned out well for anyone. The end times have yet to arrive for the persecutors, and the persecuted suffer as a result. And, more importantly, the persecutors that once demonized the targets of their aggression end up looking like the demonizers. This begs the question: “Who is the real demon in all of this?”
We have a responsibility to live responsibly under the guidance and spiritual presence of God. We, as Christians, have moral obligations to love our neighbours and to make the world a better place. Even those that are not Christian agree that our moral compasses are fairly well aligned when it comes to good and evil.
Be on guard against temptations to become a demon in the name of religion. Be responsible and follow Jesus’ calling to wait out his return in loving and caring fashion. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be caught compromising my values in the name of religious justification. And raising our hands in violence in the name of Christ would definitely be compromising those values.