So…I’m taking a break from my spiritual warfare series to write about politics. And just so you know I hate politics. Or rather, I REALLY REALLY STRONGLY DISLIKE politics.
When I was first old enough to vote, I took my right and responsibility very seriously, but with each passing election, I have become more and more disenchanted with the effect that my vote is actually having on our country. And now, in this election, I am struggling with the desire to vote at all.
In fact, I can even find Biblical support for not being involved in politics. Consider Romans 16:17, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions … Keep away from them.” So we should keep away from politicians! Okay, I may have slightly edited that to make it say what I wanted. But it does say in the Bible to think about what is honorable, to love one another, to live in unity, and that love casts out fear. It seems to me that politics is about dregging out what is the worst in our society, about breeding fear, hatred, and division.
I know that many of my Christian friends would encourage me not to lose hope in our system and to vote. I know they would say that we need to have a voice and to vote for those who will maintain the freedoms and values that are important to us as Christians. However, I’m not sure I can see a candidate who does those things. And as I have pondered whether that means I should focus on one particular issue, or whether I should choose the “lesser of two evils”, I have had two realizations.
First, healing for our nation will not come through politics. There is no candidate who can solve the problems we have. Indeed, there are great hurts and great divisions within our country. But these will not be solved through politics. They can only be solved through Christ, and we cannot bring Christ through regulation. We only bring Christ by being like Christ ourselves. We must know Christ first, and then love those around us the way He loves. Then healing can come.
Second, our goal is not actually to have a country based on Judeo-Christian values. In fact, a truly “Christian” country will not be possible until Christ is reigning. I’m not saying it’s bad to have a country based on these values. In fact, I think God has blessed us nationally for many years as a result of the way our country was founded. However, as our country moves away from these values, we should not be filled with fear. We don’t need a country with those values in order to follow Christ. In fact, as Christians we might even be inclined to welcome persecution, as it is one of the most effective ways to grow the church. Our goal, then, is to follow Christ wherever we are, to show His love to others whatever the situation. Think of first century Rome, which was one of the most debauched civilizations in all of history. There were Christians there, and though life was not easy for them, they continued to seek Christ and to love those around them. As our country moves away from Christ, our response must be to follow Christ more closely and to live in a way that shows His love to those around us.
So, should we be involved in politics? Well the Bible does tell us that God has placed our political leaders in authority (Romans 13:1-7). It also tells us to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2). It tells us to pay taxes and obey the laws, as long as they are not contrary to God’s laws (Matthew 22:17-21; Acts 5:29). So I must begrudgingly admit that it’s okay to be politically involved.
But, my goal in this election will not be to find the person who will heal our country and restore it to its Judeo-Christian roots. Instead, my goal will be to seek Christ, to pray for His will to be done, and to ask Him to show me how to serve Him among the people He puts in my life. My goal will be to let His love cast out my fear, and to be love that casts out fear for those around me.
And will I vote? Well, it is a matter of public record, so I guess you will have to wait until November 7, and find out for yourself…