I'll be the first to admit that I don't read the Bible as much as I'd like to or even should. In fact, I still have a very difficult time memorizing verses to store in my heart and mind for the times when I need to recall them. Even so, I know I read it more than most because it's not simply sitting on my nightstand collecting dust.
So, I guess I shouldn't be surprised then when someone - especially a politician - cherry picks a particular verse completely out of context to use for their own personal agenda. I think I'm just more frustrated that so many intelligent people can't see right through this. And why is that? Perhaps it's simply because they haven't read their Bibles and they don't know the truth. Regardless, it's certainly another sign of the times.
Many people hear these politically correct words mixed with a verse or two from Scripture and they accept it at face value - hook, line, and sinker. If it sounds good then it must be good and true, right? Wrong.
Case in point, I have an issue with one of Senator Barack Obama's answers to a question at the Saddleback Civil Forum hosted by pastor Rick Warren a few weeks back.
"What is America’s greatest moral failure?"
In response to the question, Obama said – citing a well-known Bible verse – that America’s greatest moral failure has been that we don’t abide by Jesus’ words: "whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me." Obama went on to identify the “the least of Jesus’ brothers” as the victims of poverty, racism and sexism.
As Holly Pivec from Fulfilled Prophecy recently pointed out, "Obama’s answer received hearty applause from the audience, many of whom were members of Warren’s megachurch in Lake Forest, California. Yet his use of the verse was taken out of its biblical context."
She's absolutely correct. She goes on to say that, "The verse, Matthew 25:40, is part of a larger sermon Jesus gave on the end times called the 'Olivet Discourse' (Matthew 24-25). Matthew 24:1-35 records the signs of Jesus’ return, Matthew 24:36-25:30 warns of the need for watchfulness and readiness for His return, and Matthew 25:31-46 speaks of the rewards and judgments He will hand out at His coming. The verse Obama cited is part of this last section, where Jesus is speaking of the reward that will be given to those who show kind treatment to His persecuted followers during the last-days tribulation — a tribulation he describes earlier in His sermon (Matthew 24:15-22). In other words, 'the least of Jesus’ brothers' are people who will be persecuted for their faith in Christ. They’re not the victims of poverty, racism and sexism, as Obama stated."
I understand that Obama isn’t the only professing Christian who is guilty of taking Jesus’ words in Matthew out of context (he won't be the last either) and my point is not that Christians shouldn’t reach out in love to sinners, the needy, and outcasts.
I am in full agreement with Pivec who concludes in her piece, "My point is simply that when people misquote this passage — no matter how well-intentioned they may be — they lose two important truths Jesus taught: (1) believers will suffer persecution during the end times, and (2) we must be sure to reach out to those who do suffer persecution. But, sadly, the end times is a neglected topic in many churches today, which explains how Obama is able to address a largely Christian audience, and nation, and misapply a biblical verse — and no one seems to notice." Obama was simply out of context and out of line.
Sadly, this is the first time I've heard someone comment on this. Even Rick Warren, the Pastor who hosted the event, didn't call Obama out on this or clarify such things to his flock and to the nation that was watching.
That begs the question, what is Rick Warren interested in more? Saving the lives of his congregation by preaching and adhering to biblical truth or saving the political life of his "friend" Barack Obama?
Furthermore, I think it's fitting that a man known for his eloquence and mastery of the English language (a great orator) would make such a blatant misstatement although it does jive with his modus operandi, which is to always give the public more style than substance.
As politicians like Obama continue to give the nation sound bytes that are out of context during an election year they must be laughing at our ignorance and lack of discernment. We've become a nation of sheeple led to the slaughter by our own blind acceptance of error for truth. Unfortunately, God isn't laughing.
When religious persecution becomes a harsh reality here in the U.S. like it is for our brothers and sisters in Christ overseas and in other parts of the world we won't be laughing either. It's too bad we can't recognize when God may be trying to send us a message through the supposedly benign comments from a politician during a nationally televised political forum.
Barack Obama, Jesus and ‘The Least of These’ — What Holly Thinks
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