I believe a strong argument can be made that the very heart of Christ is His edict to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44) and turn the other cheek (Matt 5:39). The early church made this a qualification for membership. If you decided you still wanted to bear the sword, either in self-defense or as part of your job, you were tossed out of the church as an enemy of Christ. Not only that, people DIED in the first few centuries after Christ because they would not even so much as pledge loyalty to Caesar lest they stand before King Jesus in the judgement and he denies ever knowing them (Matt 10:33) given that they wanted to serve another king. Can you imagine your church leadership announcing that all police and military officers need to repent or be excommunicated?
Christ said that His kingdom is not of this world or His servants would fight (John 18:36). Paul says that “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” (2 Tim 2:4). He means that we are enlisted in the kingdom of God and do not belong to any kingdom of this world. Peter said that believers are a “holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9). We have been transferred from one domain (the kingdoms of this world) to the kingdom of God (Acts 26:18; Col 1:13). There’s isn’t a third domain. Jesus doesn’t allow dual citizenship (Matthew 6:24). We pray for (1 Tim 2:1-2) and we obey those in earthly authority (Romans 13) so long as they don’t oppose the laws of our kingdom (Acts 5:29).
When we think of Nancy Pelosi or Donald Trump, for example, we should pay very close attention to our reaction. Do we shudder? Yes? Then we have an enemy. At that point we are in opposition to our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. We are self-willed, no longer following the Holy Spirit. That’s a much bigger problem than whatever foolish or outlandish thing s/he is said to have said or done (by rather untrustworthy sources with axes to grind themselves). The more torqued we become over the news the more attached we are to this world and the further we are from loving our enemies. The more fearful we are, the less faith we have (Matthew 8:26). The news can reveal a lot about our status with God.
Starting to experience the fear of God? Good, that’s the very beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10; Prov 1:7). That’s where my wife, Monique, and I are at the moment. Not that we are sufficient or wise in any way except what God may do through us (2 Cor 3:5). I’m told that the pants-wetting sensation of free fall should subside after a time (Phil 1:20).
When you think you have God cornered into eternal life, it’s similar to being 5 years old and your parents announce they will only ever take away the toys you don’t really use or need (i.e. mansions/crowns). When mom and dad can take away any and all of your toys, you start to listen to them very differently. Almost as if your life depends on it (Luke 12:42-48).
“Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Cor 5:11).
(If you haven’t already, read Part I)