First Congregational Church
305 N. Camburn
PO Box 926
Stanton, MI   48888
Ph. 989-831-5240

Love for Truth  *  Passion for Righteousness  *  Enthusiasm for Service


Open Door Newsletter

Graceful Rain

             --Pastor Jamey Nichols                     

          As I write, I am sitting on my back porch. The rain is falling very hard straight down and the thirsty earth is greedily slurping it up. We have needed this rain for some time. I know because I have been trying to repair an area of my lawn with new grass. For the last 10 days I have had to water the seed myself without any help from God. Normally, if rain carries on for more days than the sun shines, I find it depressing. But not today. It’s a welcomed sight. Not that I’m ready to join the local pluviophile chapter or anything, but for now I find it beautiful.

          Let me shift gears a moment and talk about political divisiveness. I am heartsick at the increased nastiness of our political climate. Everyone who loathes our current president might be quick to blame him but that would be short-sighted and overly simplistic. The nastiness was there before any of us were born and now it just seems to be reaching new lows. President Trump has done nothing to help the nastiness. On the contrary. None of us should be completely surprised. Without the north star of Jesus Christ by which to set one’s course, pagans and heathens alike will run helter-skelter acting as they did back in the days of the Hebrew Judges, “each one did what was right in their own eyes.” If you name Christ as King, then demonstrate your loyalty by removing any and all traces of self-determination, self-promotion, or self-centeredness. Instead, become God-determined in your choices and actions. Become Christ-promoting in your speech and service. Become others-centered in your thinking and attitudes. Jesus didn’t tell us to love some of our enemies. We’re never free to hate any enemy, political or otherwise. “Love your enemies” is a simple command that needs very little expounding.

          In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus taught something about the Father that is instructive to all of us especially during an election year. In 5:44-46 He said, “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” Ouch!

          This passage is magnificent when it comes to political discourse. It is a hydrating life-lesson reminding us how to frame our minds towards those with whom we vehemently disagree. It’s no secret to those who know me that I find abortion unconscionable. Anyone who has had an abortion was misguided in their choice and probably panicking. Anyone who provides abortion on demand is guilty of serial murder. Any politician who supports abortion on demand is an agent for evil. But here’s the biblical deal . . . Matthew 5 is in the Bible. Jesus’ requirements are for you and me. Jesus’ forgiveness is available to any who have had abortions, provided abortions, or advocated for our American culture of infanticide. The gift of grace and mercy for those desiring to repent is exactly the same gift of grace and mercy you and I have received. Additionally, abortion advocates and I may vehemently disagree and may consider each other political or cultural enemies. They might even hate me and my rhetoric. Nevertheless, their views toward me have no impact on my duties to Christ who commands me to love them.

             As I sit here watching the rain I am reminded that God is watering the lawns of believers and atheists. He is watering the farms of faithful friends and fierce foes. He is pouring down quenching grace on liberals, conservatives, libertarians, and communists alike. He is simultaneously blessing those who love Him and those who hate Him. But remember, among those who hate Him now are those who, one day, might repent and become our brother or sister in Christ. Moreover, God might use your obedient love towards them to help foster that new birth. Here’s the bottom line: Politics and culture may be a fertile seedbed for social division, but no Christian ought ever be caught sinking roots and sprouting hate. For Christians, our team jersey is neither red, nor blue, nor any other color. We are clothed with Christ and His righteousness. Now, rise up and live for the glory of God alone. Confuse those who disagree with you by treating them with kindness and respect. To God be honor in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen.