ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: WHAT IT MEANS TO BE RIGHT OR LEFT
July 31, 2015
Greetings and Salutations!
How be you today? Supercalifragilistic? Yeah, OK, Expialidocious, too!
See! I know how to spell those words. I can even pronounce them. ‘Course, after you watch Mary Poppins about forty bazillion times with your kids and grandkids, you better be able to pronounce them! One of our granddaughters, Jessica, when she was three years old, was one of those precocious kids who picked EVERYTHING up! If you got her started on some of the things she heard, and she was a real kick!
If you'll pardon me, I'm going to somewhat deviate from our normal discussions today and deal with something that is both political AND spiritual!
How do you like today’s Coffee Break title, Being Left or Right? Catch your attention, did it?
I’m indebted to my old friend and longtime brother in the Lord, Lyn Barnes, for this topic. Lyn used to be my supervisor at the Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach when I was an area director for the 700 Club in Alaska. Wow! That was a couple of days ago, wasn’t it, Lyn?
Anyway, Lyn has commented from time to time on my pieces dealing with government, politics, and the Christian’s responsibility to be involved. He noticed a scripture one day that caught his attention, made note of it and sent it on to me.
There isn’t anyone in this country – and perhaps in most of the countries of the world – who haven’t taken a position on an issue, and have subsequently been referred to as being “on the right,” or “on the left.” Bet you didn’t know where the “right” and “left” references came from, nor how long they’ve been with us.
If a person is a “conservative,” they are generally referred to as being “on the right.” If they are a liberal, or a socialist, most folks call them “leftists.”
There is great spiritual significance to these terms, whether you realize it or not.
We have some other adjectives by which refer to folks today. “Moderate” is generally meant to refer to someone who holds neither “extremist” right or left views. I was somewhat amused listening to Rush Limbaugh one day when I heard him making his views known on “moderates.” He called “moderates” cowards who are afraid to let their true views be known: “compromisers,” he called them. I’ll add my two cents worth in a minute.
One other term that has become more or less used in the last couple of years is “progressive.” Talk about a euphemism! This is an adjective that folks use who don’t want to be known as “liberal,” or “leftist.” They hide their “leftist” views under the label of being “progressive,” with the proposition that a “progressive” learns, whereas a right-wing “extremist” stands fast, and is unwilling to “moderate” their views.
Hilarious, isn’t it?
A person is referred to as a “right-wing extremist” if he holds his conservative views uncompromisingly; and vice-versa, a person is referred to as a “left-wing extremist” if they are uncompromising in their views.
I’ve often been labeled throughout the years as an “extremist,” whether the “right-wing” label was applied or not. Hey! If the shoe fits........?
When I’ve investigated the “extremist” label folks have applied to me, I’ve discovered that they mean I’m extreme because I believe that Jesus Christ absolutely is THE Son of God; that there is NO OTHER WAY to Heaven than through a genuine one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ, with Him as Lord and Savior and Redeemer of your life.
Guilty! If that’s what folks mean when they label me as an “extremist,” then I’ll gladly wear the label.
Some folks call me an extremist because I hold conservative Republican views. Fact is, I’m more conservative and less Republican. Well, maybe I am just as much Republican, but not the current brand of Republicanism which has been watered down and cheapened by a “broad tent” philosophy. Guess most folks would refer to me as a “Constitutionalist.”
Brother, now there’s another euphemism if I ever saw one! “Broad Tent”? It strikes me as a royal case of compromise. I know there are places folks can compromise without compromising their integrity, but when folks begin to compromise their stands on social issues in favor of economic issues, or compromise their stands on economic issues in favor of social issues, they’ve ceased to be true Republicans. Republicanism used to stand for conservatism on social issues, moral issues and economic issues. It’s kind of hard to tell anymore!
Anyway, let’s get back to this “right-left” thing.
Did you know that people were considered on the right or left as far back as the days of our founding fathers? Did you know that people were considered “right” or “left” as far back as Roman times? Did you know that the Scripture is filled with references to being “on the right” or “on the left”?
Let’s take a look at one of the first references in which wisdom or understanding is designated either way, “A wise man’s heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man’s heart directs him toward the left. Even when the fool walks along the road, his sense is lacking and he demonstrates to everyone that he is a fool.” (Ecclesiastes 10:2 NASB)
Pretty telling isn’t it?
The very next verse is directed at the would-be compromiser, “If the ruler’s temper rises against you, do not abandon your position, because composure allays great offenses.”
Thus, a person “on the right” has a wise heart, whereas a person “on the left” is directed by foolishness. Ouch! The compromiser is obviously one who is afraid of the temper of those in places of authority, and abandons his or her position in order to placate that temper. THAT is a picture of someone ruled by fear, and directed in foolishness.
Jesus has something to say about the right and the left when He talks about the Day of Judgment: “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.”
In Hebrew thought and metaphors, sheep are regarded as willing and obedient followers of God, whereas goats are the depiction of those who are rebellious and self-willed. (All of these Scripture quotations, incidentally, are taken from the NASB.)
Now, look at the judgment of the Lord that comes to those on the right, and then those on the left. Those on the right are regarded as righteous, whereas those on the left are regarded as wicked, perverse, and accursed. (see Matthew 25:33-46)
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.
“Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’
“Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
In case you are getting upset with me, I didn’t make this up. This isn’t my contrivance. These left-right designations have stood for thousands of years.
When our founding fathers came together to establish the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights, they had a firm view fixed in their understanding. That view plainly was in accord with the Scriptural definitions and designations for right and wrong, good and evil. “Right” and “Left” were, to those founders, scriptural designations and they intended to establish a nation that honored the Lord Jesus Christ at its core without establishing some kind of denominational attribution as England had with the Anglican Church.
Conservative views prevailed in those days. Conservatism held that it was the responsibility of the churches and individual believers to provide for the care of the indigent; and to that end, our Constitution was written so as to leave the Federal Government out of the welfare business.
The brand of so-called “Liberalism” that prevailed in those days did not argue against that position, and political conservatives and liberals pretty much agreed on limiting the overall scope of government. “Liberalism,” in the days of our founding fathers, was applied almost exclusively to differing views of the responsibilities of Christians and their relationship with the Lord.
Not until the intrusion of Lenin and Marx with their brand of “Communism” and its introduction into society as a whole did liberalism begin to take on a whole new character at which our founding fathers would have paled. The terms “Left” and “Liberal” came to be applied to socialism, big and bigger government, and the mentality we’ve come to refer to in recent times as the “Robin Hood Mentality” in which government took from the more prosperous by force so as to give to the “less fortunate.”
This kind of governmental intrusion into the lives of people is totally at odds with Jesus’ commands to His believers. It provided a whole new definition and life to what Jesus referred to as “the goats.” As earlier noted, goats represented a self-willed, rebellious people who decided they were going to run their lives – and the lives of others – in opposition to the grace, love and righteousness of those who were obedient to the Lord, His will and His commands.
Solomon’s statement that wisdom was designated as “the right,” and foolishness, or the fool being on “the left,” could not better describe the state of affairs in our nation (and others as well) in this day and age.
The picture that follows in the next verses in Ecclesiastes 10 presents a graphic portrayal of “right” and “left.” I won’t take time to address them today because it would take too much time, but we will take a look at them perhaps tomorrow.
For those “on the left” in Jesus’ judgment, the end of their way is “…eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.”
That leaves no wiggle room whatever. One either chooses what Jesus treats as “the right” and enjoys the rewards thereof, or they choose “the left,” and suffer the ultimate consequences.
I have a strong conviction about this whole picture. It may not win me any friends or influence people, but I really don’t care! One only has to take a look at what we have come to call the “extreme left” in our society today, and you have a picture of the unrighteous, a picture of wickedness, a picture of immorality, a picture of sin and compromise with sin that is rapidly becoming boundless, and without any spiritual or moral anchor whatever.
“Left” and “Right” are discussions that have a widening gap in our society; and it doesn’t matter whether you apply those definitions in politics, in society, or in spiritual affairs. I want to deal at length with what Solomon had to say as he talked about a people who obviously were as much a part of his day and age as they are of ours.
I’ve quoted Dwain McKenzie’s famous comment at the close of my Coffee Breaks from time to time, but the discussion of “left” and “right” couldn’t possibly be better applied: Things are not what they seem to be, they’re what God says they are!
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call takes place on Mondays at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Once again, the number to call for healing is (805) 399-1000. Then enter the access code: 124763#.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (559) 726-1300, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long.
Blessings on you!
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