By Steve Holt, Opinion Editor
Liberal. Get the heebie-jeebies just now when you read that? Sometimes I think mentioning of the word is punishable by death in Texas.
That was a joke, of course.
But the sad question that often follows someone revealing that they lean left politically is this: “And you’re a Christian?”
Have you ever considered that our savior and Messiah, Jesus Christ, was, dare I say it, a liberal? He was about as left as they came during his 33 years as a man.
Dictionary.com defines the word liberal this way: Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry; b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
The only characteristics above that didn’t (and don’t) describe Christ are tolerance and broad-mindedness-Christ’s attitude toward lifestyles and actions outside of God’s will has always been, “hate the sin, love the sinner.”
Jesus ministry was not primarily to the religious elite, but to the poor and downtrodden. He not only preached about giving to the needy in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 6:1-4), but he lived out his teachings in ways that were counter-cultural for the time period.
He ate with tax collectors (Lk. 19:1-10), loved and restored at least one prostitute (Lk. 7:36-50) and warned sternly against accumulating wealth.
Conservatives pride themselves on being the keepers of the moral code in America. So did the Pharisees during Jesus’ ministry. Jesus preached that unless our righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 5:20). The group was one of Jesus’ favorite targets, because they always seemed to think they were right. In every story Jesus preached to or about the Pharisees, he revealed that God always values meekness and faith more than haughtiness and strict religious code.
What does Jesus think about judging a person to die for their crimes?
Well, Jesus came across a real life capital punishment trial, and asked the Pharisees who were going to stone a woman caught in adultery a convicting question: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” After being shown grace, the woman is commissioned by Christ to go free and leave her life of sin. We can only assume she did.
Jesus loved the unloveable and often laughed in the face of “fairness” and “justice” in order to extend love or life to those in need.
In every case, Jesus’ interest lay with the person over the religious or legal code.
While Christ would likely laugh (or weep) at what American politics have become today, he would likely support whichever political group is more compassionate.