Time flies! I haven’t posted a blog in more than a month! That doesn’t mean, however, I haven’t written a couple. I have but decided better about publishing them! They actually were pretty good, but after I thought about them a bit, I realized they didn’t really add anything to the discussion so I filed them.
Most of what I was writing about really had to do with how our nation has lost its civility when we deal with one another concerning issue with which we may disagree. Instead of listening to hear the other side and have a reasonable discussion, we’ve devolved into listening to respond so that we can marginalize, degrade, dehumanize, ridicule, threaten and even terrorize the other side. We’ve all become enemies at the slightest perceived provocation.
The most troubling part for me is that self-proclaimed Christians have fallen into this trap as well. Of all the people who should be objective and show no favoritism or judgment it should be those of us who follow Jesus Christ.
I teach Political Science at Corban University, which is a private Christian college. I repeatedly have to remind my students that our first allegiance is to Jesus not our political party or political values. That means that we are against lying, unequal justice, impure motives, intellectual dishonestly, injustice, mean-spiritedness, and the ends justifying the means even when it’s your favorite politician doing it.
It’s not easy. All of us have a political bent and we get frustrated by the political theater that happens in Congress and Washington, D.C. In today’s culture, we feel not just the need but the obligation and right to speak our minds on social media and anywhere else people will listen. But I must remind my Christian brothers and sisters what scripture commands.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11 – “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
- Hebrews 10:24-25 – “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
- Romans 15:2 – “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”
- Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
- Romans 14:19 – “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”
- Philippians 2:3 – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves.”
There are literally dozens more verses like the ones above. We are called to encourages others, build others up, put others before ourselves, not judge others, and basically to love others as God loves us. At times, it’s brutally hard but it is not a request, it’s a command.
If this is the case, why are so many Christians engaged in “trolling” people on social media, “throwing shade” as they say? How can we as Christians come out and try to make excuses for our favorite politicians when they lie, cheat, commit sexual abuse or adultery, say inappropriate things and all the rest? Why are Christians responding to attacks against their political heroes by attacking their opponents, claiming what they did was so much worse than what their guy did?
Brothers and sisters, to steal a line from Paul – this should not be!
Non-believers can say and do whatever they want. What do we have to do with them, as Paul asks in 1 Corinthians 5:9-12. We, on the other hand, must always respond in gentleness and love as we tell the truth – not our truth but God’s truth.
That said, here is what I think we need to do as Christians involved in politics.
If you support President Trump, stop making excuses for him. He has some very ugly traits that not only cannot be justified but cut against our faith. You may like his policies but you must as a Christian come out and say that some of his actions are inappropriate and wrong.
If you support the Democrat leadership, again you can support their policies, but you cannot support their mean-spirited attacks on people, their call for incivility, their lies and all the rest. You must separate their policy ideas from the way they do politics which is as inappropriate and wrong as President Trump has been.
I recently preached that wherever a Christian goes everyone there should immediately be able to recognize him or her as a Christian. They should be able to clearly see our faith in the way we do everything we do – how we engage people, the language we use, our love for others, everything. People should be able to point you out and say, “There’s one of those weirdo Christians!” When I view social media and the press, I can’t really tell the Christians from the unbelievers and it’s heartbreaking.
No matter your political bent, remember that as a Christian you have given your life to Jesus and you represent Him in everything you do. Believe me, I have VERY strong political leanings but I must always remember that I am an ambassador of Christ first and a political junky second. Everything I do must glorify Jesus or I am failing Him.
So, by all means engage the political debate. But please, brothers and sisters, do so in a way that is respectful, gentle, loving, non-judgmental, and honest. Don’t be a CINO – Christian in Name Only. Pray for our leaders, but hold them accountable as well!
If you won’t take my word for it, please heed the warning we’re given in scripture. There’s going to come a day when you are face to face with Jesus and He’s going to ask you about how you handled yourself.
Matthew 12:36 – “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”