Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)
Every American Christian should reflect on the events surrounding the January 6 march on our Capitol from a biblical perspective, but it will be beneficial to first examine them from a constitutional perspective.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is remarkable for both its brevity and its breadth. In 45 words, this foundational law of our nation sets forth six precious rights: (1) the right to be protected from state-imposed religion; (2) the right to freely exercise your religious faith; (3) freedom of speech; (4) freedom of the press; (5) the right to peaceably assemble; and (6) the right to have our government address our grievances.
Rights #5 and #6 are the two most obviously related to January 6. Whether we speak of January 6 or the earlier Spring riots triggered by the killing of George Floyd, our constitutional right is to assemble “peaceably”, not with trespass, vandalism, and violence. Answers to our grievances must be sought only through new laws or judicial resolution based on existing law.
Right #3 is a rose with thorns. It allows anyone to freely express unpopular opinions, or treat their opinions like facts, or speak half-truths as if they are whole truths. In short, free speech creates the risk of deceptive or offensive speech. When we each have access through social media to a potential audience of millions, this can prick lots of people. (James 3:3-10)
Right #4 protects us from having our independent news media replaced by government propaganda: what Oxford Dictionaries calls “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.”
How is our nation handling these rights today? First, we no longer have a free press. We have a liberal news media controlled by the “money” that supports liberal politicians, and a conservative news media controlled by the “money” that supports conservative politicians. In pursuit of ratings, profits, and their respective agendas, both sides focus on propaganda more than news.
As our latest example, liberal propaganda has called the events of January 6 domestic terrorism, but the Spring riots an understandable expression of justified anger, and even suggested without any credible evidence that the Spring violence was primarily by people from the far right. Conservative propaganda has done the absolute reverse.
Without a free press that reports unbiased, unfiltered news, we have nothing by which we can check the credibility of what politicians, pundits, and others “freely speak” in either broadcast or social media. Ever-growing distrust of the press and/or the government causes many of us to look elsewhere for answers, and unfortunately, our ears itch to hear what we want to hear even when it may not be what we need to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
Satan is the father of lies and the serpent who deceives. (2 Corinthians 11:2-3; John 8:44) A serpent has a forked tongue, and both forks are lies.
The evil one first determines which way you are leaning. Then he pushes you, but he never pushes against the way you are leaning. There would be too much resistance. Instead, he pushes you in the direction you are already leaning, whether it be the left or right, because that is how he most easily makes you lose your balance and stumble or fall. As he pushes the left to the left and the right to the right, our nation becomes more divided and unstable. This enemy knows a divided nation cannot stand. (Mark 3:24-25)
The only way Christians can avoid losing their balance is to stand on the Rock – Jesus Christ – with both feet and all ten toes. (Matthew 7:24-27, 16:18; Psalm 18:2) And the only way we can be sure we are standing on the Rock is to stop concentrating on what others are doing and honestly evaluate our own hearts, actions, and words from Jesus’s perspective. (Psalm 139:23-24)
President Trump is, of course, at the center of much of this controversy. For both pro-Trump and anti-Trump Christians who want to understand his election in 2016 and defeat in 2020, I suggest an in-depth study of Jehu and an in-depth study of King Saul.
But the most important need now is for all of us to have our own eyes examined.
If your heart, actions, or words are not unconditionally loving, you have a log in your eye. (1 Corinthians 13:1-8) If they support strife, deceit, divisiveness, fear, covetousness, pride, insults, sexual immorality, or the murder of children, you have a log in your eye. (Romans 1:29-32; Galatians 5:19-21)
We need to remove the logs.
God bless you, and God bless our community.