7 Things Every Christian Should Know About Politics

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Political discourse is the Las Vegas of Christianity—the environment in which our sin is excused. Hate is winked at, fear is perpetuated, and strife is applauded. Go wild, Christ-follower, your words have no consequences here. Jesus doesn’t live in Vegas.

Not only are believers excused for their political indiscretions, they are often applauded for committing them. Slander is explained away as righteous anger; winning arguments are esteemed higher than truthful ones; and those who stir up dissension are given the pulpit.

Recently, I was left speechless when someone told me, “I’m just tired of all these {gay slur} trying to take over our government.” Sadly, this man is a significant figure for a worldwide ministry. I should probably say something to him, but I haven’t. After all, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

So forgive me if I balk when pastors tell me the church should engage in the political process. Why would we do that? The political process is dirty and broken and far from Jesus. Paranoia and vitriol are hardly attractive accessories for the bride of Christ.

Rather than just engage in the political process, Christians have a duty to elevate it.

Like any other sin, we are called to stand above the partisan dissension and demonstrate a better way.

Should we have an opinion? Yes. Should we care about our country? Yes. Should we vote? Yes. But it’s time we talk politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocks them.

americaHere are seven things we must remember about politics:

  1. Democrats go to church too. Every time your pastor urges you to vote in a way that will “restore America to greatness”—code for “get rid of the liberals”—he is isolating and offending a group of people who came to church looking for Jesus. (Note: If I’m wrong about this and only Republicans go to your church, your church is doing something terribly wrong.)
  2. Political talk radio and “news” only want ratings. When they tell you they are on a moral crusade, they are lying to you. These personalities get rich by making you afraid. If you give your favorite political ideologue more time than you give Jesus, you are following the wrong master.
  3. Those who argue about politics don’t love their country more than others. They just love to argue more than others. Strife and quarreling are symptoms of weak faith. (Proverbs 10:12; 2 Timothy 2:23-25; James 4:1)
  4. Thinking your party’s platform is unflawed is a mistake. The social policies of your party were constructed by imperfect politicians fueled by ambition. It’s nearsighted to canonize them.
  5. Scripture tells us to pray for our governing leaders (2 Timothy 2:1–4) and pray for those in authority (Romans 13:1–7). Translation: if you’re mocking your governing leaders on Facebook, you’re in sin and the Holy Spirit is grieved. We should spend more time honoring our leaders and less time mocking them. Stand for truth but reject name-calling.
  6. Reject paranoia. The country is not going to be destroyed because your candidate lost. 2 Timothy 1:7 says: “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Stand up and demonstrate what God has given you.
  7. If you promise to move out of the country because your candidate lost, follow through. Even if we disagree with your politics, we’ll be forced to admire your passion.

(Bonus)

8. Stop saying “This is the most important election in the history of our nation” every four years.

The most important election in the history of our nation was when Abraham Lincoln was elected President. Before that, we thought it was okay to own people.

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