For example, Mark Driscoll, at 8:17 AM on January 21, 2013, tweeted, "Praying for our president, who today will place his hands on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know."
While Andy Stanley, one of my favorite preachers, shows why he deserves that title. Stanley had the privilege to preach a sermon at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington D.C. This was inauguration Sunday and President Obama and his staff were in the congregation.
Stanley decided to preach from the story of Jesus washing the disciples' feet. When Jesus came to earth, He was God in the flesh. The most powerful person in any room. And He washed feet. He spent time with the undesirables. He came to serve rather than be served.
Stanley said to the congregation filled with Obama, his cabinet, and other churchgoers, "So what do you do when it dawns on you that you're the most powerful person in the room? You're the most powerful person, in this case, in the world?" Then he shared with them what Jesus did. Jesus "laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him" (John 13:4-5 ESV). Jesus, God in the flesh, humbled Himself, went around the room, and washed his followers' feet. The followers had just been arguing about which one of them would be the greatest. And Jesus showed them what the Greatest should do. Serve. Not be served.
Now that's some powerful stuff. Some real powerful stuff when spoken to the powers that be in this world. Stanley ended his sermon with these words, " Mr. President, you have a very big room. It's as big as the nation. It's as big as our world. And my prayer for you is that you continue to leverage this stewardship of power for the sake of our nation and the world."
Back to my initial thought. What approach do you think had a chance to influence the President? Driscoll who attacked him on Twitter? Or Andy Stanley who proclaimed the tough teachings of the Gospel with him? The sad thing about the whole situation is that Christianity gets another self-inflicted and deserved black eye. But we're not all that way. Look at Andy Stanley. Who I propose was actually acting like Jesus would in the situation.
You may be thinking that a pastor shouldn't associate with a person like Obama. And if that is your view, then you don't understand the Jesus that pastors are professing. Jesus wasn't scared of associating with those who held opposing views. He didn't hole himself up in a monastery and expect believers to come to Him. Him was out among the people, teaching and preaching a way of life that would change lives if adopted. A way of life that we would all be better off to follow today.
This isn't to say that there isn't a time to confront someone about a destructive problem in their life. But the place for that confrontation is not in the public arena. It's in private, within the context of an already existing relationship. We must always keep in mind a teaching that Stanley professes, " Make a difference. Don't be satisfied with making a point."
Jesus taught, "Go and sin no more." But He was with a sinner after He had earned her love when He taught that. May we do the same.