In this age of ideology and political enmity and division, I think we have a craving for “neutrality.” If you’re like me, you’re sick of one “side” constantly being against another “side” in every conversation. I wish we could all just agree on SOMETHING! ANYTHING!!
Can we at least agree to root for Padres over the dodgers!? Come on!
If you google the word, “neutral,” the first definition you’ll probably see is, “not engaged on either side specifically.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? Sounds refreshing, even. In this ideologically divided culture, “not engaged” might even feel virtuous. And in some ways, it is! It certainly doesn’t help to just throw gasoline on the fire by constantly pushing an agenda. It’s certainly not virtuous to hate our neighbors for their views and decisions.
But in another way, neutrality is anything but virtuous, especially for Christians.
According to the late Bishop Desmond Tutu,
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
When we choose to follow Jesus, we are choosing a side! We are choosing to be for Jesus in the way that Jesus is for us and for “the least of these” (Matthew 25). Jesus chooses sides! and calls us to follow him in choosing his side! There’s nothing neutral about being a Christian! We chose our side when we chose to follow Jesus.
The problem isn’t picking sides, the problem is which battles we choose to fight. We’re not called to the war of ideology that our culture keeps trying to fight. We’re not called to be “right” so that others can be “wrong.”
Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
As much as we may like to keep to ourselves clean, to disengage, and refuse to take sides…. we are called to take the sides that Jesus takes. We are called to take the side of the vulnerable, the poor, the oppressed, and the forgotten. We are called to take the side of the people who need our help, our kindness, our resources, our compassion, our love. We are called to stand with people against the ideologies of sin that struggle to destroy relationships. We are called to stand even for our enemies, not against them. We are called to stand with the least of these, for that is where Jesus stands.
Jesus has chosen the side of love and he calls us to follow him there. So let’s not be neutral. Instead, let’s be faithful.