Statistics indicate that the United States of America is the most Christian nation in the world. We call ourselves a “Christian Nation” for various reasons that I won’t get into in this particular blog post. Given the percentage of Americans who claim to be a Christian alone gives us the right to call ourselves a Christian Nation. However, because we call ourselves a Christian Nation wouldn’t it lead you to believe that we would act like we are a nation of Christians?
Jesus gave some pretty explicit guidelines on how we should act. Let’s look at one small section of the gospels where a man comes to Jesus and asks what he must do to have eternal life – or get into heaven. This story is found in Matthew 19:16-22. Being a Christian is all about getting to that afterlife place and to avoid hell. Jesus says that we have to do something here on earth in order to earn that rite of passage. We must do something – good deeds. He first tells the man to “keep the commandments.” Jesus only names a few but we can probably assume that he meant all of God’s commandments. In John 14:15, Jesus says, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Speaking of statistics, most Christians are unable to write down all ten commandments. Oops – getting off the subject.
When the man tells Jesus that he keeps the commandments and asks what else he should do, Jesus gives him the hard answer. The guy should have stopped and walked away while he was ahead. But here’s the good part. Jesus told the man that if he wants to be “perfect,” to sell his possessions and give all his money to the poor, and then follow him. The young man goes away grieving because he knew that he could not give up his possessions – that he would live with the guilt of knowing that he has a ticket to hell.
Wouldn’t it be great if Jesus said we could keep our possessions and not have to share with anyone and let the poor fend for themselves? It’s almost impossible for me to love my enemies. And our neighbors – does that include gays and transgenders? Can we, as followers of Christ, manipulate the words of Jesus? We are a Christian Nation! Time for another cup of dark roast!