For Christians, the ends do not justify the means. The means are important. And so are the ends. When we look at the example of Jesus, we see that means are important. The Sermon on the Mount is one verse after another about how the means are as important as the ends. Blessed are the peacemakers – not blessed is peace. Peacemakers are in the process of making peace happen. It’s the means.
Bless are those who thirst for justice – not those who have arrived at justice. It’s in the process.
The means are important. Because if the ends justify the means, then it makes sense to bully your way to the ends to get what you want. But Jesus never condoned this activity. Christianity can be described as many things – a way of life is one of them. A way of life means that there is more to life than just the end result – there is the living of your life that matters.
But unfortunately, there is a theology out there that says that only the end matters – where you end up when you die. There is a theology out there that promotes Rapture – an escape from this world. If we are going to escape, then what happens here doesn’t matter. There is a theology out there that promotes a wrathful God who relishes destroying anyone who even questions God. If there is no room for questions and doubt, then we are just robots and life doesn’t matter.
There is a theology out there that mixes its political and partisan loyalty with theological belief (or rather disbelief). It confuses political identity for baptismal identity. It puts faith in leaders who will do anything and destroy anything or anyone in the way in order to get the desired result.
When you can willingly be cruel, oppressive, dehumanize, mock, ridicule, divide, foster fear and anger – or support someone who does this on your behalf – then you have a faulty belief system. That’s not a belief system of Good News. It’s a belief system on an earthly empire concerned with obtaining and wielding power and crushing enemies. That’s not God’s kingdom and it’s not Good News. It’s not a belief system that saves anyone. It’s not a system of belief that builds off of trust. It’s a belief system based on slavery, demands compliance, unquestioning allegiance, and lacks any freedom.
It’s a belief system that sells one’s soul to the empire to receive a short-term gain, at the expense of the Kingdom of God. Rather, we are to deny ourselves and our quest for power and pick up our cross and follow Jesus.