Single Issue Voter: When a good thing becomes a God thing it’s a bad thing

You’ve got a thing. Perhaps you’re the clown and your thing is making people laugh. Perhaps you’re shy and people know you as the “quiet girl”. Perhaps you are the rebel and you want everyone to know that your parents made you come here. All of us have a “thing”, all of us have an identity that we want others to perceive and approve of. But as you mature in finding your identity you discover that one of the easiest ways to define yourself is to associate yourself. Political party, religious preferences, even clothes and “attitude” begin to allow you to distinguish yourself as a person and find others that affirm you in your choices. But you are still one of many until one day you find it, your issue. Having an issue is really the height of defining yourself because people don’t have to like you they just have to like your issue. You can very easily dispense with all your faults and fears of rejection because if people do reject your issue they aren’t really rejecting you are they? Now you have to know that it might take some time to find your issue because you need to find a unique and obscure issue. The more unique and obscure the better because people will more readily affirm you and your issue if it’s something they themselves haven’t thought of. Then you get the double affirmation of not only having people approve of your issue, they’ll also think you’re smart, spiritual, conscientious, cool, etc. If your issue is really esoteric you also get the benefit of not really being challenged and perhaps you’ll get the most desirable personal identity of all- being the herald for your issue. Why is being the herald so important? It’s important because you get the added benefit of feeling righteous when you tell people about your issue. In the first place they either don’t know or think wrongly so you when you tell them about your issue you already are in a position of moral superiority. If they agree with you then they affirm that you were in the right all along. If they disagree then you can instantly label them as “uninformed”, “misguided”, or best ever “unspiritual” thereby solidifying your sense of being “right”. What’s also great about being the herald is that you have an excuse for bringing up your issue no matter the context. People must be informed about your issue and since you’ve attached your identity to your issue you get an excuse to essentially talk about yourself whenever you feel like it. Of course if you are challenged as to the relevance of what you are saying you can always say, “But people don’t know about this! It’s important!” And it is deadly important… to you, because you’re justified, you’re “right”, if people agree with you. You are affirmed and deemed valuable if people affirm your issue and think your issue has merit. At this point if they don’t know about your issue, who are you?

At this point let me take my tongue out of my cheek and get deadly serious. Some in reading the above might think that I’m cynically referring to Jesus as an “Issue”. Jesus Christ isn’t an “issue” He’s a person, THE person, if you will He’s THE ISSUE. In Christ alone are we offered Justification, Identity, and redemption from our futile attempts to find these things else ware. What I’ve described above is our attempts to find these things apart from Him. The main difference is that when we look else ware for these things we find gods that can’t do what we hope they will do. They’re gods that can’t redeem, gods that can’t give us the identity we so long for. Sadly it’s the best things that make the best gods. We are more apt to try to find our “rightness” and “identity” in marriage, family, doctrine, and conviction. But when we put our justification and identity in these things we are building our lives on sandy shores that trial sweeps away like a torrent. There’s a reason Paul Determined to know “nothing among you but Christ and Him crucified”. There’s a reason Paul in responding to the Corinthians many “issues” brought them back to the questions, “Does this express love towards God? Does this love your brother?” When “issues” become preeminent, what is lost is the penultimate, namely the person and work of Christ. We have an enemy that would gladly have us mired in and find our glory in “issues” rather than exalting and glorying in Christ.

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