Keep God in your heart, not in government

From the book of Matthew, chapter six: "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

I sometimes wonder if Christians still read the Bible these days. Do our churches still teach the Sermon on the Mount? At 106 verses — about the length of an article in the daily newspaper — one could easily read it over breakfast.

I am often awed by the profound simplicity of Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. One could spend a lifetime meditating on the wisdom of these teachings. I'm sure doing so would have a tremendous effect on the way one might choose to live. We live in very confusing, stressful and frustrating times — so the desire to find a place for God in our institutions is natural, but misguided.

We need to look inward. We should examine our hearts, and face with integrity what we find there. Jesus did not call on us to judge our neighbors. He called on us to love our neighbors, to love our enemies, to do the hard work of making peace in a troubled world. God doesn't need us to make a place for him in our halls of government; it is up to us to make a place for God in our hearts and in our lives. Beware of those who would tell you different. When you hear their words remember Matthew 7:16: "By their fruits ye shall know them."

— Matt Rawlings

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