I remember during the heated election of Barak Obama and Mitt Romney, Christians in the pews and on social media were ablaze with passion. I believe that passion in politics is good, but especially for believers, political passion must be tempered with the truth of Scripture. We cannot lose our witness in the political arena. We are Christians first. Our greatest priority must be to help souls into Heaven, not politicians into the White House.
The question has come up more than once, “Should a Christian be a Republican? Democrat?” It is an interesting question I suppose, but my stance is that the premise of the question is flawed. We are Christians first and only with a great amount of effort can we force Christian beliefs into a box with one political party or the other. And if the passion of my politics obscures my love for those on the other side, then I kneel at the altar of the donkey and elephant, not the Christ. As believers, everything we are and do rests on one thing. Yep, you already know it. It’s love, love for the Lord and love for our neighbor. This must be our guiding light instead of the the political firestorm of the day.
Don’t think for a minute I am suggesting that Christians should not be involved in politics or that they should hold their opinions. That is not at all what I am saying. After all, Jesus commented quite a bit on the politics of His day, but all of His words were framed in the priority of our relationship with God. His goal was never to start a revolution against the government, but to speak truth about God, even in the realm of politics. The Pharisees tried to trick Him into becoming an enemy of Rome and Caesar through a political question of taxation. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s,” He said. (Matthew 22:21). He was very critical of the religious, ruling class of the Jews calling them out as hypocrites. The Bible says that whatever we do, we should do it with all our heart and to the glory of God. This includes how we participate in the current political environment. We learn from the prayer of Jabez that we should ask the Lord to increase our territory or sphere of influence so we should speak out and we need Christians running for political office. Participate or not to participate is not the question we need to ask ourselves about our politics. The question is how to participate in the political system within a framework that will still exalt the name of Jesus Christ.
I have friends, Christian friends, on both sides, that I talk politics with, but this is not the norm. There is a spirit in America using politics to tear the church apart. It is so easy to get caught up in the most recent issue that we elevate our political cause above the Great Commission without even thinking about it. Our conversation, even political conversation must be salted with grace and love (Colossians 4:6).
Full disclosure, I fall very far right on the political spectrum, but that does not mean that I despise every liberal point of view. I believe in lower taxes and a smaller government. That’s just me, but I would be foolish to think that every tax hike is somehow ungodly. We need a military. We need to protect our nation and our citizens those that want to do harm. I also believe strongly that there are also people who need some kind of government assistance. At the same time, I don’t think it is good to give something for nothing unless they are physically unable to work.
The problem with government is that it is forced to make society one size fits all. In other words, to govern a large population, systems have to be put in place that fit the majority. There is simply not enough manpower to deal with each situation on an individual basis. To stop corruption for the most part, the government would have to deal with things on an individual basis. How else could we stop social security fraud but to have an investigator assigned to each person to make sure they are being honest and not forging documents or having little jobs, unreported, on the side? How can we make sure people do not cheat on their taxes except to have an investigator monitor each person 24/7/365? You know, because maybe they had a side job that paid in straight cash, or maybe a high-powered lawyer figured how to game the system and save their client from paying legitimate taxes that everyone without a big-time lawyer has to pay. It is impossible for the government to govern on an individual basis. It is impossible to stop all crime. It is impossible to stop all fraud. It’s impossible to help everyone in need. Until there is a new Heaven and a New Earth, sin will remain in the hearts of men and women therefore immoral and unethical behavior will exist.
Just because someone is old enough to legally drink, it sure doesn’t mean they should! Just because someone is old enough and managed to drive well for 15 minutes for their test, it doesn’t mean they should be allowed to drive in public!! Can I get some ‘amens’ here or what? Just because a couple got a blood test and some rings, it doesn’t mean they should get married. Someone should have responded when the question was asked, “Does anyone here have a reason why these two should not marry…” Someone should have stood up and said, “I got a list.” Instead, people hold their peace to be polite only to watch the train wreck later. But what is government supposed to do? Should the justice of the peace also go through 6 months of marital counseling with the couple before marrying them? Should the DMV assign an agent to every new driver to secretly tail them for 6 months while they are on probation? Is everyone over the age of 21 responsible enough to drink? NOOOOOO!!!! But the government can’t set up an office to interview people to assess their emotional and mental state before giving them a license to drink. Instead, they set up a law stating a person must be 21 to drink legally. The point of the law is to stop the atrocities that happen while people are under the influence, but they still do. Our nation could raise the drinking age to 65, but by the time they passed the law, there are people who will still do something stupid at the age of 70.
As long as we are talking about this, let’s talk about gun control. Just because someone took a class to get a license, it doesn’t mean they are responsible enough to have a firearm, but who is going to decide that? -The checker at Walmart in the sports and hunting area? Of course not. And just because someone doesn’t have a license to carry a weapon, it doesn’t mean they don’t have three or more weapons on their body. I will stand up and defend the 2nd amendment every time. But to defend the 2nd amendment, I have to allow for some people legally obtaining firearms who simply do not have the maturity to get a gun. At the same time, the answer is not to ban weapons. There have been weapons since the beginning of history. Why? Well, people had to eat for one thing, but whether it was a wild animal or a wild gang member, people have also needed to protect their families. People can make weapons out of anything. Doesn’t anyone ever watch ‘Locked up.’ Prisoners take bars of soap and cotton balls and somehow make a shiv to take someone out. And if all weapons were confiscated, even if that were possible, are we going to make everyone wear boxing gloves filled with marshmallows because it seems that people get killed from beat-downs as well. Are we going to confiscate rocks, bottles, steak knives, cars, trains? The answer to violence is love. A ban on instruments of violence will never stop the violence. Does anyone remember prohibition? We tried to stop all alcohol sales. Not only did the government’s effort to ban something it deemed harmful not work, but the government inadvertently created the Mafia who had guns and killed people to keep the flow of alcohol going.
Oh, ok preacher, then you don’t think there should be any restrictions on cannibus then, don’t you? AHHHhhhh!! This is what I am trying to say. One law can not possibly cover every possible scenario pertinent to that law. And the government will never be able to monitor every moment of every person’s day no matter how Big Brother it gets. There are many drugs that are good on one hand, but extremely dangerous on the other hand. It’s crazy. It is as if each side is so afraid that the other side will take over the nation, the whole world even, that they cannot agree publicly with something they agree with privately because if they let the other side have an inch, they will take 10,000 miles.
This is why, as Christians, we cannot allow our political leanings to outweigh the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. As individual Christians, we do not assume that every situation is the same without any exceptions. The salvation of our souls is an exception. The law of sin and death was moved aside so that we can have eternal life. In the same way, we must value the individual and seek to do what is best for that individual in every situation as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Any governing body, however, is forced to create systems, laws, by-laws, etc. to manage the institution. Whether we are talking about the military, politics, or even the church. As believers, we are called to pray for our leaders and obey the law. But in my daily life, I must love each person in the moment, the way they need, as much as I am able.
Christianity doesn’t fit nicely into politics like a puzzle piece. Governing bodies try to manage all their members whether it is a small church or the United States government, but Christians are first interested in the salvation of the individual before the management of the masses. We need laws and governments. Otherwise, it would be mass chaos. During the election of Barak Obama and Mitt Romney, I had Christians tell me that they could not vote for Obama because of his stance on abortion, but others told me they couldn’t vote for Romney because he was Mormon. What is the alternative? -to not vote? -Surely not! It happened again with this last election. As Christians, we should be politically active, but we mustn’t ever think that what a Christian should do in any given moment is always, without fail, going to fit perfectly with a party platform. Nor should we try to force politics to fit our belief system. Christianity and politics are not lovers. They are distant acquaintances and nothing more. We need government for our nations, our states, our cities, our churches, our organizations. But let’s always remember that government manages the masses. Christians leave the ninety-nine to go after the one.
And by the way, do you realize it is illegal to hold your cell phone while driving even if you can still maintain control. But to take a sharp object covered with eyeliner and stick it right up in your eye with one hand while holding a cup of piping hot coffee in the other hand while driving with your knee is completely legal??? Do you see the insanity of the laws we create? The point is that too much passion in politics can tear the church apart. In political matters, let’s listen to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God more than a politician with an ‘R’ or ‘D’ behind their name.
Let everyone else hold fast to the letter after their name whether a 'D' or an 'R,' but as the body of Christ, let's hold fast to our name-Christians. Our platform was not written by a committee of politicians, but by the One, True God. Let's give more weight to the Word than the speeches. Let's be Christians who vote and not voters who go to church.
And above all, pray for our nation. Pray for your leaders no matter their party. We are called to do this by the Scriptures. Hate no one. Be patient with everyone. A Church United in Christ is far more powerful to save our nation than Republicans or Democrats. Let's save the nation.
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