Love your neighbor. Yes, even THAT neighbor

· January 5, 2018  
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Love your neighbor
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An unintentional reoccurring theme has emerged during the worldview discussion to kick off my CRTV show in 2018. As a wise man once said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

That wasn’t necessarily the plan, but if a conversation ends up taking you to such a place over and over again, then it’s probably a good sign you are on the right path.

Each of the first seven shows of 2018 is dedicated to one of what I call the 7 Deadly Worldviews: Gnosticism, Legalism, Dualism, Darwinism, Pragmatism, Syncretism, and Secular Humanism.

As we go down the list, a pattern emerges. We must have ruthlessness in rooting out such evil in our own thinking — all the while showing as much mercy as possible to those we are debating in the arena of ideas. Because in this game, the measurement of victory is not the scoreboard. A God of mercy doesn’t roll that way. If He values the one lone sheep lost in the wilderness, then so must we.

And let’s face it, the wilderness is ugly and vast these days. Just a simple reflection of the number of beams we’ve pulled out of our own eyes on our own Damascus Road is testimony to that. I am certainly no exception. All too often I have talked to my enemies as if Muhammad was my guide instead of Jesus Christ: Always on the warpath. Always trolling for new enemies. And always valuing power and winning above empathy.

But the God our rights come from calls us to something far better. If we must go to war, we are commanded to forgive at the end of it instead of to destroy. If we must Tweetstorm, let it be with the mirth of G.K. Chesterton and not the desperate bullying of the church scold of the day. If we must have power, let it be governed by a relentless humility in rendering to Caesar only what is Caesar’s and not one jot more.

That means we must avoid intellectualizing to the point that the humans we seek to persuade become merely an abstraction, to be manipulated to whatever degree satisfies us. For this is the conversion method of the oppressive progressivism we seek to defeat.  It is not our satisfaction that we are ultimately seeking, but that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

He wants to save us. And all of us He’s already saved were once one of “them” ourselves.

They aren’t bottles to knock down like some tawdry carnival game. They came into sin and error in many of the same ways we did and thus are not trophies to win but hearts and minds to win over. They are ours to love. And yes, sometimes that love must wound so that there can be healing. But it is never to maim.

Now, make no mistake, there is no way to do that in many cases without dishing out some tough love. When our Savior says we are the “salt of the earth,” he doesn’t just mean salt as a preservative, but also as an agent that cleanses infection in a wound. And when it does so, it doesn’t exactly tickle.

So, no, let’s not pull our punches. Especially for such a time as this, with the existential conflict in the culture raging to a boil and the future at stake. But prudence isn’t the same as prissiness. Let’s not be the guy who chases the terrorist into the crowded mall, either, randomly spraying buckshot into the air in order to take out the baddie, but also creating collateral damage and an unnecessary body count along the way, only to then act befuddled that we weren’t given a hero medal for our exploits.

Burning the village to save it never works. It’s never a precursor to transformation. It’s just an act of arson.

Besides, sometimes the best weapon isn’t a punch but a pun. As the old saying goes, “What the devil hates the most is to be mocked.” Marxists have often used humor to viciously deconstruct that which we are attempting to conserve, and there’s no reason why we can’t return the favor.

As the great evangelist D.L. Moody once put it: “When you’re winsome you win some.”


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Author: Steve Deace

Steve Deace is broadcast nationally each weeknight on CRTV. He is the author of the book “A Nefarious Plot.”