I know the issue of politics is a tricky one, and it certainly becomes more so within my religion. I want to start by saying that this post is not about evangelizing my ideals. I will not talk about who I’m voting for, my thoughts on policies or the role of government, or who I think Jesus would vote for. These are all significant discussions, but not for this blog. This post will be focused on the Church’s response to government, and how we as Christians should engage in politics. Obviously, as this is my blog, I will be spewing my opinion. As is the case with every post, I want to create discussion, but please be aware that my thoughts are only my own, I do not wish to force them on you. I always desire conversation, but if you come at me with hostility rather than civility, there will be no conversation.
There are two main ways that people can engage in politics. Obviously there are different degrees of engagement, as well as non-engagement, to talk about, but I will only discuss the two basic forms of engagement here.
The first, and most obvious way to engage in politics is to become a politician. I think this is a very necessary and honorable profession. I think that many Christians view it as an evil position, one that leads to corruption and greed. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Politicians need Jesus. Politicians have the same struggles that many of us have. They say one thing, but then do another. The only difference is that their problems are all over the TV. I know I struggle with hypocrisy every day, believing one thing but doing another. When I think about politicians in these terms, as humans with faults, insecurities, and daily struggles, I hurt for them and feel led to pray for them. I also pray that somehow they are shown the love and face of Jesus, because I believe that when people see Jesus, they can never be the same.
The second way to engage in politics is to talk about it. On Facebook, Twitter, Email chains, whatever. This is the part I want to focus on. Most people, and therefore most Christians, fall into this category of engagement. I love this kind of engagement. One of the best things about America is that two people who seem to be alike in every way can have such differing views on how the country should be run, and still be friends. I have friends on all sides of the debate, and it’s awesome when we start talking politics. There is a part of this type of engagement that bothers me, though. So many times (and this goes for any debate, not just debates about politics) Christians tear each other apart when expressing their opinions. Words that should never be used to describe another human are spewed on a brother or sister. There is too much venom in our hearts, and we are allowing things that are not lasting to steal our focus from the eternal. There is so much pride in the way of having a loving, profitable conversation. The poor and hungry are starving and dying while we talk about government’s role. The hurting young mothers are being tortured by the enemy while we shout “MURDERER!” Gay men and women are being bullied, mocked, told they are disgusting, and it’s often Christians doing it. When Jesus came across sinners, He didn’t often tell them about their sin. The woman at the well is an exception, I’m aware, but my point is that Jesus just loved. When people came to Him, He loved. He loved with reckless abandon, not walls. He allowed dirty politicians to spend every waking hour, prostitutes to share intimate feet washing moments, and the poor to eat with him. When Jesus was asked about government, he said that God put it there, and as Christians we should be obedient. Jesus didn’t get into the role of government, blaming or praising them, he just told us to pay our taxes and love people.
One more small point I would like to make, which also will help us focus more on the eternal rather than the temporal: God is in control. He will guide this country and the world wherever He wants. Now, I don’t believe this excuses us from being involved, but we should take comfort in the fact that no matter what happens, or how we believe about government, God is in control and He will bring glory to His own name.
In summation, my point is as follows: It is very important to be engaged in politics, and everyone is welcome to their own opinion, but as Christians, please don’t let your pride or “patriotism” get in the way of loving people. Government will always have gaps, so as the church, let’s try to fill those gaps. Instead of talking about what needs to be done, let’s do it. Let’s be the change we want to see, and let’s be Jesus to the world.