Domingo, 03 de Março de 2024
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The Independence of the Sons of God

Recent days have being scaring me. I refer not to the great political scandals, to massacres more and more common, to increasing crime or disorderly growth of groups heading protests and activism often odd to any known parameter. All this has surely left me stunned and apprehensive. But what scares me for real is the polarization of society in virtually all areas. By polarization I mean the fact that people are crowding around two opposite poles in a matter. For example, we see people who once claimed to be apolitical start professing extreme left or extreme right ideas.

Of course ideas and opinions by themselves, even if extreme, do not cause direct problems to people, except in two cases. The first is when they are put into practice. The second is when they bear so much passion that they conceive its most illustrious son, hatred. When this infant is born, his brothers – radicalism, offense, disunity and violence – get along wherever he goes, just as a close-knit family. Thenceforth, conflicts we have being witnessing today are inevitable: left against right, feminists against chauvinists, pacifists against gun power, gangsters against vigilantes. Such situation is increasing, so as the new factions arise in society.

Historically speaking, that is no news. But what may seem new, at least for the generation facing moments like these, is the lack of know-how to behave before polarizations. Since this leads people to new fields of experience, the most common is having some identification with a certain group so as to ensure personal identity and almost blind reception of a fix set of creeds held by this group in order to give sense to the stand taken. As a result, people worry about a certain problem and start living and advocating ideas they never cherished and with which they would have never agreed in different circumstances, not moved by their concepts and ideas, but by emotion, often overstated. That raises contention in people on the opposite pole that, also moved by strong emotion, make a stand and act unreasonably, but according to their group, what brings about more contention and hatred to both poles. Thus, hatred, violence and radicalization increase and leave us one step closer to costly and unwanted conflict that will maybe make us regret for ages.

In face of that, how should children of God, saved by faith in Christ, act and take stance? Shall we blindly get into these poles? Shall we celebrate, for instance, the massacre in a gay nightclub carried out by a Muslim who believes homosexuality must be handled through murder? Shall we rejoice in the beat-up and killing of a thief once we cannot bear any more crimes? Shall we blindly advocate for political thieves of a party because they oppose political thieves from another? Shall we be relieved with the sinking and death of hundreds of refugees because their problems will not get too close? Are some evils justified when opposed to others?

Please note! These issues are not as easy as they seem for the evil they hold is not smaller than the ones we have to live with. Even though, is blind polarization something Christians must take on? The answer is no, although entailing substantial cost.

As for Christians, values of society and surrounding ordinary life cannot overcome values exposed by our heavenly Father. This causes God’s sons to have solid stands regarding God’s Word and still oscillate regarding the poles in society. An example is the polarization, in NT times, with respect to the government, which caused some Jews to associate with the Roman system and others to become nationalist revolutionaries. In face of that, God’s church took and independent position, disobeying earthly authority when to bring glory to the Lord (At 4.18-20, 5.27-29), but submitting to it for the same purpose (Rm 13.1; Tt 3.1; 1 Pe 2.13-17).

Of course Christians were accused of insubordination in the first case and traitors in the second. But the truth is they were faithful in both instances. Not to earthly poles, but to God. That means not that the believer should not be radical regarding what is really radical. But he should know which is his pole of truth. Christians’ polarization is not among political, economic or social sectors of the world, but between heaven and earth, between the values of God in Scriptures and worldly values about life.

The result is that the son of God takes position independent of the world, reproaching homosexuality at the same time it vehemently repudiates the massacre in the American nightclub, or rejecting the evil of the left without deluding with or ignoring the evil of the right. Of course both sides of earthly polarization will accuse you of something, but you must never be accused of lacking obedience to the Word of God and to your Lord’s superior values. Your independence in earthly issues cannot be fruit of alienation, but of pure and proper obedience and submission to the Savior. Our good sense, moderation and independence of the world must derive from a radical desire to display Christian character and honor our God.

“Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.” (2 Co 1.12)

Pr. Thomas Tronco

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