Abraham Lincoln once said: “My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side.”
Human beings have always tried to bring God in on their side whenever they face conflict with each other. As Wallis says in On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good: ” We have seen many tragic examples of people claiming that God is on their side. Some have flown airplanes into buildings full of innocent people. others claim God for their wars on terrorism, which also take many innocent lives. We have seen people co-opting God for their party’s political agenda, their nation’s supremacy, their economic stratum’s global dominance, or their tribe’s identity politics. Others try to impose their religious codes on society by legislation or by attacking people who disagree with those codes. Claiming God’s special blessing for our own race, class, group, country, or even our religious community is a most dangerous example of trying to put God on our side.” (On God’s Side, p. 8-9)
When we, in humility, admit that our ways are not God’s ways, that our thoughts are not God’s thoughts; and then seek to discover what it means to be on God’s side, it will lead to healing the brokenness of ourselves, our nations and our world.
Compassion will replace confrontation.
Love will replace hostility, hate and fear.
Humility will replace pride.
Forgiveness will replace blame.
Reconciliation will replace retaliation
Comfort will replace hurting.
Fullness will replace hunger.
Peace will replace war.
Acceptance will replace rejection.
Christ taught that all the law and prophets have told us how to be on God’s side and summed up their message in these words:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:25ff.)
If our churches can lead our society in the light of these words, then healing of our broken religious, political, economic and social systems can begin.
As Jim Wallis says: “Is love of neighbor the primary thing that people think about when they watch the behavior of our faith communities and institutions? Or are they more likely to see self-interest and judgment of others? Religion makes a big mistake when its primary public posture is to protect itself and its own interests. It’s even worse when religion tries to use politics to enforce its own codes and beliefs or to use the force of law to control the behavior of others. Religion does much better when it leads—when it actually cares about the needs of everybody and not just its own community….(On God’s Side, p.6)