The Main Thing Isn’t the Only Thing
Howdy - so I’m resurrecting the blog from its one-year dormant state. My family has experienced some significant changes this last year, thus blogging naturally took a back seat. 2020 has wrecked the world one way or another, I’ve even lost long-standing friendships and online acquaintances unfortunately over disagreements on COVID-19 response and racial justice. It’s been interesting, and sad, to say the least. But I’m still the same ole’ Christian AnCap for whatever that’s worth. Anyway, all of that to say “hello” and I hope you’re doing fine. I’m glad you’re here, so let’s now gather around…
My Christian experience has had its share of frustrations while seeking to live faithfully in this fallen world. I’ve always understood that Christians are pilgrims longing for a better land, but how should we live along our journey? Certainly not as those who isolate themselves away from the world seeking to shield themselves from its sickness, its darkness, or its tyranny. Yet that is a bubble in which we can find ourselves if we allow fear and despair to weigh us down, or if we have a fundamental misunderstanding of what God would have us do.
One mantra I’ve come to dislike quite a bit is “we gotta keep the Main Thing the main thing.” It’s not that the Main Thing - the Gospel - shouldn’t be pre-imminent in our worship and Christian living, but my experience is that it’s usually asserted in strong opposition to Christians seeking to live out their understanding of loving their neighbors as themselves. The Gospel, to be sure, should always be the main thing, but it for sure is not the only thing. It is, of course, the thing that ought to fuel all other things; but, it should never be used as an excuse to neglect other necessary things.
The Gospel should not be pitted against biblical commands of doing good/justice and loving/showing mercy. Our hearts should be so full of the Gospel (i.e., love for God) that our lives overflow with a desire to love our neighbor, especially neighbors who are suffering. Black, white, rich, poor, sexually whole or broken, adult, preborn, sinner, or saint - it doesn’t matter; we are called to love and love well.
Demonstrating our love is stunted when we believe being a voice for the oppressed somehow distracts from the Gospel. Our light is put under a bushel when we yield to the fear of man who would have us not speak as we ought to speak for the broken and downtrodden. Our salt is at risk of losing its saltiness when we fail to do what we know we should do in the face of injustice.
We should be willing to have such a heart for those who are hurting and suffering under oppression - whether by government or majority groups - that we might be accused of being a “lefty.” That doesn’t mean you *are* a lefty, but your desire to love well overcomes the scorn of rightists who so hate the hashtag #blacklivesmatter that they have a conniption when you’d dare seek to better understand the issues and seek to make black lives actually matter more.
Or take abortion as another example - there is a sentiment that believes being pro-life, "voting pro-life," marching for life, or filling up baby bottles with loose change is enough. Apart from supporting the local crisis pregnancy center, that’s not only not enough, it’s actually nothing worth of value in terms of loving our preborn neighbors with justice in mind. Some of that is even detrimental to the cause of liberty for the preborn, but I digress. For Christians willing to get out of their comfort zone to do the work of abolition, going beyond the aforementioned historical and acceptable ways of responding to the abortion holocaust means being distanced from or admonished that one is taking their eye off the main thing. I now think it’s more that well-meaning - yet mis-taught and misguided - Christians have Gospel tunnel-vision and fail to rightly consider and understand the whole counsel of God, which includes the heart of God for the abused and oppressed. Thankfully, I do believe that tide is turning as many Christians are recognizing the pro-life movement has been a failure and the only way to end abortion is through abolitionist ideas such as state nullification.
Truly, the key to understanding how we ought to live in our land is learning the heart of God and seeking to have one like it. Throughout all of the Scriptures, the discerning mind will discover God’s heart for the afflicted and judgment against unjust rulers. Psalm 82:3-4 is but one example:
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
However we are able and according to our means and God’s providence, our calling is to be good stewards of what the Lord has given us. There are many considerations for a faithful life navigating the cares of this world, and one of those is certainly cherishing the Gospel and making it known to those around us. And while the Gospel is no doubt the main thing, justice and mercy are good and necessary things that God loves and must not be neglected.
Let us be about all the things that God loves, and not just those things that make us comfortable.