“The ends justify the means.”
I’ve heard this phrase before. This logic seems to make an appearance in times of war or in economic decisions in a business environment.
We will drop the bomb, people will die, some bad, some good. But the bad people will die. So the action of dropping the bomb is justified due to the fact that the hoped for result will be achieved, bad people dying. The reality that innocent people die as well is not addressed because the importance of the “mean” or the action is nullified due to the “end” or result being fulfilled.
We will lay off a dozen people to cut costs in order to insure a profit this quarter. A dozen people will be unexpectedly unemployed in a poor economic climate and may face all sorts of obstacles they are not prepared or equipped to deal with. This negative reality brought on by the “mean” or action will be labeled a “necessary cost” and will be brushed over. Once again the negative consequences of the “mean” are ignored due to the desired end result being realized.
This logic has influenced every aspect of American life.
Perhaps the most important area of life that this logic has gotten a foothold in is Christian theology.
The combination of consumerism and a poor understanding of the “ends and means” has crippled Christianity.
A message intended to radically change human existence has become nothing more than another product on the market.
Jesus has been reduced from divine to product, from perfection to the clearance rack.
This idea is fully captured in the emergence of Donald Trump.
This fall many “evangelical” and “born again” Christians will walk into a voting booth and cast a ballot for Donald Trump, the reality television star.
Because they believe the ends justify the means.
Our desired ends are religious freedom, economic success, and national security.
Three things Jesus never had.
A homeless man, living in a nation occupied by a foreign super power, who was eventually executed for radical beliefs.
Yet we are convinced God desires for America to be a country with strong walls (literally) and enough freedom and beer to keep everyone (on the inside) happy until judgment day.
The ends never justify the means.
Life is less about the end destination and much more about the journey there.
In reality all that matters is the “means”.
You are your means. The things that you do create your identity. The way that you choose to exist, is just that, your existence.
You are not defined by where you end up.
You are defined by how you get there.
You are your journey.
A runner in a race is not awarded first place for simply arriving at the finish line. They are awarded a place due to the manner in which they run the race.
What happens in between the starting gun and the finish line is what determines the place.
I have seen and heard people who claim to follow Jesus say things like this,
“Donald isn’t a good guy, but he’s the best option.”
“I don’t like him, but he will protect us”
“He is the best shot at protecting our religious freedom and making sure my grandchildren can go to church and have guns.”
These statements don’t ring with the authority of Jesus. Rather they have a faint cry to them, a sound of fallen morality. The sound of bargaining and acceptance.
Christianity has never been about protection of rights.
Jesus and his original followers had almost no rights.
Jesus didn’t own property or weapons. Jesus didn’t build walls to keep people out, dangerous or not. Jesus didn’t have a semper fi tattoo on his right arm. Jesus didn’t speak English or quote the constitution.
Jesus was a poor middle eastern man. Jesus looked more like Osama Bin laden then He did Chris Hemsworth. Jesus was homeless and dirty. Jesus was chased from town to town. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Jesus healed the men that came to arrest him. Jesus walked quietly to his own execution. No shots were fired. No lines drawn In the sand.
Jesus ended perfect, because he lived for the means.
My challenge is this, to Christians, to the church, to my friends and family, please ask yourself this simple question.
Would Jesus stand with Donald?
If the answer is anything other than yes, your answer to Donald should be no.
Don’t make America great again.
Make Jesus great again
“The ends justify the means.”