Politics bring out the worst in people. We insult, belittle, and tear down those that hold different views. And worse we feel justified in doing so because they are wrong. Christians are exempt from this, often we are some of the worst offenders. Which begs the question, what should the relationship between the church and politics be? How should Christians engage in politics during this election?
It concerns me to see how Christians are engaging in politics. What concerns me more is the increasing amount of hope that many Christians have placed in their political party and leaders. We are way too invested in what happens in our country. But the problem isn’t our involvement, the problem is that increasingly Christians are deriving their hope and identity from a political leader or ideology and not from God.
But that’s an article I’ve already written: Your Hope Is Not In Politics (a warning for Christians)
What I want to focus on in this article is how Christians should engage in politics in a way that represents Jesus well. And let’s be honest, as a whole, we haven’t done a great job at this.
So let’s look at some ways we can, and should, engage in politics during this election season.
Consider the Stance Not the Party
I’ve made this point before and I know it makes some of you very uncomfortable. But we can’t afford to miss this.
If you are a Christian you have to support truth. On BOTH sides. If you are a Christian you have to stand against evil. On BOTH sides.
And yes there is truth on the opposing side.
We have no problem pointing out the evil in that person or their party. But we are quick to turn a blind eye to the evil that exists within our own political party.
We need to look past our party lines. There is truth on both sides and there is evil on both sides. We should consider the stances, not just the party and the name attached to the policies.
Here’s what I think we should all acknowledge:
The Republicans are wrong. The Democrats are right. In some areas.
The Democrats are wrong. The Republicans are right. In some areas.
Both Democrats and Republicans are wrong. In some areas.
If you vote third party, the same applies.
When we engage in politics we need to look at the stances in light of what the Bible says to be true. It would also be wise of us to examine our hearts. Why do we so passionately support certain ideologies? Why are we so against others? Is it really rooted in the Gospel or is it rooted in something else?
Behave Like Christians
Do you know what the word “Christian” means? It literally means “little Christs” and was originally used as a derogative term. But the title stuck. Really it’s more than a title, it describes how we should act. If you bare the title Christian then you should act like Jesus. You represent him.
What you do and what you say tells those around you something about God. Good or bad. You are tasked with representing God well. That should cause your anxiety to raise a little bit. I don’t know about you, but I got some work to do.
Maybe the area we struggle with this the most is in politics.
I know you hold your political beliefs strongly. And I know you are convinced you are right. And maybe you are. But, you can be right in your belief and wrong in how you act.
Let me say it this way, just because you disagree with someone (even if you are right) that doesn’t give you permission to be obnoxious, malicious, and cruel.
Remember, what you say and do tells someone something about God. Paul tells the church in Ephesus to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel (Philippians 1:27). Be honest, does that describe you?
- Was that comment you left on Facebook done in a manner worthy of the Gospel?
- Was the statement you made to your coworker about that political candidate done in a manner worthy of the Gospel?
- Is vilifying the opposing party really a manner worthy of the Gospel?
- Do that tweet really represent the Gospel?
- Do your thoughts reflect God’s thoughts?
If you call yourself a follower of Jesus you need to behave like one.
Pursue Unity With Christians That Vote Differently Than You
There are Christians that are Republicans.
There are Christians that are Democrats.
There are Christians that fall somewhere in-between.
They each have a good reason for believing what they believe. And if you walked in their shoes and experienced what they’ve experienced, you’d probably vote like they vote.
I know you are probably thinking NEVER, I would never vote for that person or I could never support a party that promotes/ignores that issue. But you probably would. Most people (not all) have a good reason for voting the way they vote. And let’s not make the assumption just because they vote that party that they support every issue of that party.
But that’s really not the point I’m trying to drive at. The point is as Christians we should be united together. Unity should be of the utmost importance to Christians.
We should take time to listen and talk with those that think and vote differently than we do. Especially with Christians.
How can we be unified in a world so divided? Because as Christians if we can agree on Jesus, everything else is secondary. Everything. At the cross, we find we are all the same fallen and broken people that are being transformed into something new. It’s through Jesus resurrection that we can find unity despite our political differences.
- Are you pursuing unity or creating division?
- Would you be willing to have someone who voted differently over to your house?
- Have you bashed people from the other political party before?
- Do you know why that person you can’t stand votes the way they do?
- What have you said about a person created in God’s image online?
Actually examine your life. Are you pursuing unity?
Do Engage But Don’t Worry
We live in a country that gives us the right to vote and let our voices be heard. And we should exercise that freedom we have.
We should engage in what’s happening in our country. Christians should care about politics. We should do our research. And come November we should cast our votes.
But we shouldn’t become so wrapped up in what’s happening that we get our allegiance mixed up. We don’t need to worry about what is or could happen.
As Christians, our hope is not found in the next president. The next social program. The next law. Or anything else the government can do. Our hope is found in Christ alone. Period.
Whatever happens next in this country (good or bad) will change nothing of significance for Christians. Our mission will still stay the same. God will still be in control. And we can have peace.
How we live might change. Temporary consequences might stack up. But at the end of the day, no one but Jesus has the power to make any impactful change in our lives. No one.
Christians should engage in politics but we should be careful to keep our ultimate hope in Christ.
I hope this is a Duh type of statement. But I suspect in all the hype surrounding this election we often forget to actually pray. At least regularly.
If you are a Christian you ought to be praying for our leaders (on both sides), our country, and against evil. You should be praying for the church and that we would boldly stand for truth, fight against disunity within the walls, and be known for our love. Especially our love for those that are different than us.
Before you post that political rant, before you cast your vote, before you figure out your stance, or before you engage in that conversation. Pray.
Pray first, engage second.
Really, that’s how we should act in all situations. Followers of Jesus should pray and then act. We need to do both, but we should always start with prayer.
I hope that throughout this election season you first and foremost pray.
Yes, we should be involved in politics. But the way in which we engage should be different than the way the world engages. The way we engage should show that we believe and are following Jesus.
I want to hear from YOU! What would you add to the list? How do you think Christians should engage in politics? Leave a comment below!
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