A minister addressed the issue of division and discussed its remedy inside and outside the churches.
Wilfredo "Choco" De Jesus, senior pastor of New Life Covenant Church in Chicago and a staffer at Assemblies of God, tackled tribalism in congregations through his upcoming book, "Love Them Anyway: Finding Hope in a Divided World Gone Crazy."
Drawing inspiration from his experience as a pastor and the story of how Jesus broke social barriers to reach out the lost, De Jesus pointed out that churches need to also do the same.
In an interview with The Christian Post, the minister explained further about his book.
He said that his book dealt not only with people who attend the church but also unbelievers, answering the question of both sides that says, "What do we do now with all the rising tension and so forth?"
He stated that the response to such, relative to racism and political unrest, is "Love Them Anyway."
When asked if other churches should also follow what his congregation did to their worship center, wherein they removed its security gate, De Jesus replied that their action conveyed a message that everyone is welcome in their church. He declared that those gates needed to be removed and tell the Christians that they were called to be vulnerable to the "hurting" people around them, who may do something bad but that believers should "let love drive" their action.
Speaking about common blind spots in relationships that he listed in the book, the minister said that the American Church should drop superiority and entitlement. He added that churches should also "move past" the wound of trusting people and start putting themselves in a position that "represent the Kingdom of God here on Earth."
"We are citizens of Heaven here on Earth. And we're here to legislate. What are we here to legislate? The Bible. We're here to love people and to talk to about God's love. But if we continue to walk with this sense of entitlement, we're in trouble," he continued.
Moreover, he said that Christians should reach out to people regardless of who they are, as what he did in Chicago. The pastor brought in various kinds of individuals into his church and relied on the Holy Spirit to change them.
"I was called to fish, and the American Church needs to remember what we're called to do. We're called to empty Hell and fill Heaven to the glory of God," he argued.
He was also asked if he received any negative feedback over his revelation that he met with two controversial political groups in just a week. In the book, he shared that he went to a gathering of a Democrat gay mayor with her supporters in an event and then met with President Trump's Republican officials. He then claimed that with his action, he was just following Jesus' example.
The minister admitted that he did receive messages on social media questioning his gesture but he answered them by saying, "I'm a referee."
Citing three teams in the NFL, comprising the offense, defense and referee, he said that Christians and pastors should act as "referees in the field of life."
"I'm here on planet Earth to legislate the playbook, which is the Bible, to Lori Lightfoot, Mayor Lightfoot, and then-President Trump. When I see something wrong, I call it out to the mayor. When I see something wrong, I call it out to the president," he said.
He went on to say that picking sides would lose a Christian's "prophetic voice to legislate love" in the world.
On discussing a person's "inner Pharisee" in one of the chapters, the minister was asked if R. T. Kendall's statement in his own book, "You Might Be a Pharisee If," was accurate. In the book, Kendall stated that the Pharisaic tendency was pervasive in both people and churches in general. De Jesus agreed with the author and said that churches do have Pharisees and "some of the meanest people" could actually be in it.
Referencing Luke 15, which tells the story of the prodigal son, the pastor contended that both kids are prodigal.
"One is lost in his sin and one is lost in his religious ways," he emphasized.
He then stressed that Jesus came to address the issues of people who are hurting, including the prostitutes and adulterers, people that are only being marginalized by religious folks. But Christians, he said, should be "spiritual, not secular."
"People want to be religious...I don't want to be religious. I want to be a believer; I want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. That's totally different from being a Pharisee," he shared.
He was hoping that through his book, people would learn to have more love, tapping into "the bank of Heaven," so that they could love others.
He also reminded about the statement of Jesus when a Pharisee dared to asked Him on "the greatest commandment in the Law." The Lord replied that one should "love [his] neighbors." The pastor added that in doing so, one would live.
"And that's what's happening in our culture today. We have so many Christians that are existing, but they are not living. And the only way we can live is when we operate with the currency of Heaven, which is love," Pastor De Jesus concluded.
The minister's book is set for release on June 1.