And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. – Mark 3:25
Though our country claims to be the United States of America, we the people seem to be anything but. You can’t turn on the television, whether to watch your favorite sitcom or the news, without hearing a political jab. You can’t go for a Sunday drive without getting stuck behind some car that has some clever, or not-so-clever, slogan stuck on it’s bumper, forcing you to make a political opinion one way or another. That’s not even to mention attending a church service, union meeting, college lecture, or any other public speaking event where you’re going to be berated with some liberal or conservative point-of-view with which you may or may not agree.
People are angry. We’re angry at others for having differing opinions, we’re angry at those on our side for not “doing their part” in fighting whatever “injustice” we’ve come up with this week (after already forgetting about last week’s crisis). We’re angry with our friends who don’t get involved (or who do, but on the opposite side). We’re angry with our nation’s leaders and those who appointed them. Ultimately we’re angry with God for seemingly keeping His opinions to Himself, if we even care what He has to say at all.
This anger, this frustration, is thrust upon anyone who opposes our personal views, anyone who dares disagree, especially if they have any credible evidence, even if they’re our best friend, brother, sister, mother, father, or spouse.
And. It’s. Killing. Us.
Debate doesn’t seem to help, people just storm off more infuriated than before. Rallies and protests only stir up emotion but ultimately don’t fix the core problems. Yelling “he will not divide us” in someone’s face only fuels the fire of hatred and division (yes, I’m looking at you, Shia LaBeouf…). Social media just fans the flame. So what do we do?
Regardless of your political affiliation, if you are a Christian, a born-again follower of Jesus Christ, you have a duty first to God. Not to the state. Not to the president. Not to liberalism. Not to conservatism. Not to the Democratic Party. Not to the Republican party.
There have been Christians in the Body of Christ who have leaned more left (such as Martin Luther King, Jr.) and there have been Christians who leaned more right (such as Billy Graham), but historically we’ve been united in the gospel. In fact, both King and Graham refused to publicly support or side with a specific party (though they did support specific individuals on either side), instead choosing to identify themselves with the Lord.
There’s nothing wrong with leaning a certain way or even voting a certain way, so long as you’re not betraying your First Love. What’s wrong is when these allegiances overwhelm and overtake the Body of Christ so that we are no longer unified under the outpouring of Jesus’ blood but divided due to man’s policies and doctrines.
This is where we are now.
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. – 1 Corinthians 1:10
This article isn’t about why one side is right over the other. There’s far too much of that, and while, admittedly, I generally lean more one way than I do another, I don’t consider myself a liberal or a conservative.
I consider myself a Christian.
The scary thing is, many people associate being Christian with having to be liberal or conservative. This is simply not so.
The church is not a building. It’s not an organization. It’s a holy people, the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16), the heirs of the promise. We, as the church, are meant to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, of grace and salvation, throughout the world. We are to do it with whatever talents He has given us, in whatever place He has put us in, and with whoever He connects us with. Jesus makes it very clear in the Great Commission at the end of Matthew that we are to go out into the world and preach the gospel.
It’s really that simple.
We know this… You say. What does this have to do with politics?
If we, as Christians, claim to know the Truth, if we claim to be free from the bonds of sin and this world, if we have the power to overcome the Devil and do the will of the Father, if we have the Spirit of God living inside us, then we must live accordingly. Anything less proves our hypocrisy in the eyes of the world and gives them more reason to disregard the good news, even if our political ideologies have nothing to do with Jesus (which is another problem in-and-of itself).
Now, clearly we are not perfect. There’s no argument there. All have fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). That includes us. Nevertheless, there’s a difference between living a holy, godly life of repentance and living in sin. If your life looks just like the rest of the world’s, you’re probably doing something wrong.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. – Hosea 4:6
But what about politics?
Politics is related to everything we do. Whether through the roads we drive or our foreign policy regarding China, politics touches everything. We can’t escape it.
As Christians, we are told to obey the laws of the land (Romans 13) provided they are not betraying your commitment to Christ. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that we have the right to disobey laws we do not agree with or reject them, such as immigration policy (God establishes all boarders as seen in Deuteronomy 32:8, Psalm 74:17, and Acts 17:6).
Civil disobedience and rebellion against authority is only permitted, and honored, by God when we are rejecting man-made rules that go against His Word. Daniel continued to pray three times a day, even though it had been outlawed in Babylon (Daniel 6), because he loved God. Obadiah saved prophets from being killed by Jezebel (1 Kings 18), because he feared God. Both Moses’ parents and Mary & Joseph saved baby Moses and Jesus from the government’s bloody genocides because they loved them and knew God had other plans for them (Exodus 2 and Matthew 2, respectively). Rahab hid the spies from the armies of Jericho because she recognized Israel as a nation of God (Joshua 2). Not to mention all the times the people tried to kill Jesus and the Apostles throughout the New Testament for preaching the gospel, and Jesus was ultimately crucified by both the Jewish religious “government” and Rome alike.
Clearly, God doesn’t tell us to obey every law, especially if it goes against His Word, but He does tell us to obey otherwise. Even when we don’t like it. In this day-and-age, many of us need to remember that.
We are citizens of a better kingdom, and serve a greater King than any ruler, czar, emperor, or president throughout history, and His commands triumph over all of them.
So why don’t we act like it? Why do we continue to allow ourselves to be divided over issues that are either clearly addressed in Scripture (as many are, hence why I lean more one way than the other) or are ultimately inconsequential?
Are we genuinely looking in God’s Word for advice on what political candidate to support or what political view to take? Are we truly asking the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, to reveal the truth of a matter? Do we even care what God has to say, or has already said, or are we just latching onto whatever our Evangelical leaders or pastors teach us?
Are we even looking at it from the other point of view?
If it be possible, as much as lieth with you, live peaceably with all men. – Romans 12:18
There are so many political issues ravaging our culture. Immigration, boarder control, foreign policy, Israel, gun control, racism, poverty, birth control, abortion… We could go on for days. But one thing is clear, that the Body of Christ, now more than ever in the history of this nation, needs to stand united.
I’m not asking you to walk away from your political affiliations or convictions, unless they are actually hindering you from doing God’s will. This is the case with some of you, and if that’s you (be honest) forsake them and cling to Christ. In any event, I am asking you to lay these affiliations and convictions aside and instead stand together, unified, as the Body.
Don’t identify yourself as a liberal or a conservative, enough with that nonsense. Identify with Christ, for you were bought with a price and it’s a price you could never yourself pay. Jesus has already overcome the world, and He is returning for it soon.
As Election Day nears, don’t simply vote Democrat or Republican based on previous biases, upbringing, media influence, or because you’re voting for the “lesser of two evils” (if that’s your rationale, you’re still voting for evil, remember you must give an account one day), but vote honestly, earnestly, truthfully in however the Spirit leads you, however you see God showing you through His Word, in whatever way best honors Christ and His commands. If that’s Republican, great! If that’s Democrat, great! Do what God is telling you to do.
Most of the issues I’ve mentioned above have clear, biblical responses, others are a little greyer, but ultimately just seeking the Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, answer isn’t being truthful to your faith. In fact, it might just be an indicator of fear and/or “little faith”.
In any case, I urge you brothers and sisters to take a moment to search the scriptures and learn the heart of God. You know that He’s a God of love (1 John 4:7-8) and peace (1 Corinthians 14:33) and hope (Romans 15:13) and grace (Hebrews 4:16) and accepts those as they are (Romans 5:8), but do you not remember that He is also a God of vengeance (Ezekiel 25:17), war (Exodus 15:3), justice (Ecclesiastes 3:17), order (1 Corinthians 14:40), and judgement (Revelation 20:12)? Know what He has to say about a matter before you select a side to stand on. If you don’t, you may find yourself on the opposite side, and that’s certainly not where you want to be.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15
Regardless of all of this, it’s much more important that we stand united as Christians, loving one another, serving together, and making a positive impact on those around us. Lets unite as those who have devoted their lives to Jesus Christ to spread faith, hope, and love to the world. Governments can be charitable, but they can’t love. It’s not the government’s job to do so either, their job is simply to govern. No, to love and care for others, that’s our job. The church has always been God’s instrument of change and good-will towards all men, the outpouring of His love upon the world.
Let’s put aside our foolish differences and be the church again.