On Monday I read an article on Foxnews.com titled Critics Say Atheist N.C. City Councilman Unworthy of Seat. The article talks about the North Carolina constitution's statement that officeholders are to be disqualified "who deny the being of Almighty God." Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell has been getting a lot of attention from the fellow congressmen in the state who do not want him in office. Why? Because he is an atheist. In the article one comment caught my eye over the others. H.K. Edgerton is a "foe" who is "threatening to file a lawsuit in state court against the city to challenge Bothwell's appointment." Mr. Edgerton says:
"My father was a Baptist minister. I'm a Christian man. I have problems with people who don't believe in God."
Edgerton makes the declaration that he is a "Christian man" yet has "problems with people who don't believe in God." I wonder if Mr. Edgerton has step foot outside his little bubble lately. I understand having a problem with breaking the constitution but against people who don't believe in God? Really? Didn't Jesus warn us saying, "“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you" (John 15:18). This was all of us before Christ's saving work in our lives. Mr. Edgerton would have admit he had problems with himself before Christ saved him. Once we realize God's grace in our own life our response ought to be love for those who hate Christ because Christ loved those who hated him. "We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). Christ's love is radical: "Love your enemies" (Matt. 5:44). Loving our friends is easy but loving those we have problems with is hard. Nonetheless Jesus commands us to do such.
I hope all of us can learn from this statement. We shouldn't have problems with people who don't believe in God rather we should show them the love of Christ and share the gospel with them. If you think they are beyond saving then you truly do not understand the power of the gospel. No one is out of reach from God's saving hand. We all need this reminder.
Grace upon grace,