During the political season it is easy to adopt an us versus them mentality. Such a mentality leads to polarized thinking where “we” are the good guys and “they” are the bad guys. All “their” ideas are hogwash and all of “our” ideas are the hallmark of wisdom. Soon the ideas themselves are sacrificed to the greater cause of party politics. We demonize the “other” and glorify the one we identify as the only wise choice.
Though in this political season, some feel that no one candidate is the wise choice and all are sorely lacking as leaders. Regardless, when all the dust settles one of these candidates will be chosen as President. The one that is chosen will need to be respected as President.
On one hand, this political season has brought voters out of the woodwork and interest in the political process has soared compared to what has been normal. This is a very good thing. America needs her citizens to be interested and invested in the political process. The Republic is strengthened the more citizens become active participants in choosing their representatives.
However, we create disunity and divisiveness the more we create a skewed caricature of “the other guy.” When voting for “other guy” becomes tantamount to voting for the devil, all those who think and vote that way become ostracized as his or her evil minions.
It is quite difficult to have a voice of influence when we think it intolerable that a particular group thinks a certain way. A group can think wrongly and go wrongly very naturally without knowledge of the truth. One cannot hold a person responsible for not knowing what they do not know. The responsibility lies with the one who does know the truth and has not shared it in a meaningful way.
Politics is an extension of more fundamental philosophy. It plays out in a manner which affects the masses because if one thinks wrong, one goes wrong. If that one is a leader in government, many people can be adversely affected by that one worldview. When the whole group already maintains that worldview, the whole group is going the wrong direction.
In America, we have gone a long time where the Church has removed herself from discipling the nation. There is no conspiracy; this is what it looks like when the Church sees her mandate as only having to do with souls going to heaven. We left the institutions of this world to the world because we do not believe the Kingdom has to do with this world. We want to leave this world with Jesus so that we can get to a better place. Whereas Jesus came to set this world free to experience the reality of the Kingdom on this earth.
We see the corruption of our nation as a sign of the end times. I see it as a sign of our failure to be salt and light in our land. We cannot regain the ground we have lost by bullying the inhabitants of the land. The world took dominion because the Church stopped believing they had dominion. The world did not do anything wrong, they are just doing the right thing under a wrong worldview. The secularist did not do this to us, we are responsible for secularism. Something had to replace the vacuum we left. When that which is good, removes itself from its rightful place, it by default opens the door to that which is destructive to fill the void.
Every time a Christian leaves an institution because of the corruption in that company, family, church, organization, government, nation, state, city, he hides his lamp under a bushel and lets the devil have seven times more influence than he had staying in position.
We think we have to get away from the sin, the corruption, the unhealthy thinking. We do not want to get sin on us by proximity. We have to make a stand and not be contaminated by another’s mire. This is not the Kingdom. We do not live under an Old Testament covenant. We do not become unclean because of the sin around us. The only way the darkness is fought off, is when we turn on the light. Our weapons are not of this world. Our weapons are love, truth, forgiveness, kindness, patience, goodness, etc. These weapons create light because they create life. When we pick up the weapons of this world and fight fire with fire we fuel the fire and are likely to get ourselves burned.
Thus, when we are thinking about politicians and what camp is voting for whom, we cannot ostracize and criticize those who think differently than us. We cannot say “no real Christian would vote for this candidate.” We cannot say only a moron would hold that political position. We cannot make fun of the thinking of those trapped in darkness. We cannot make fun of the thinking of those we disagree with. People will not listen to us when we discount them before they start talking simply because they hold a worldview that lacks knowledge of the truth. If we are not safe people to talk to, we are not safe people to listen to.
In law, one party often has the burden to prove their case first. A criminal does not need to prove he is innocent, the prosecution must prove he is guilty. The burden of proof lies with the prosecutor. For Christians and our relationship with the world, the burden of proof that we bear witness to the truth is in how we love each other. We bear the responsibility to be salt and light. The world will know that we belong to Jesus when they see our love for one another. Remember this as we continue onward through this political season.
Also remember that the Gospel is not about American politics. The Gospel is about Jesus, and the teachings of Jesus matter with regard to a nation, but that does not mean that the Gospel is about evangelical conservative Republican politics. It is not. The Gospel is the power of salvation to everyone who believes, and American Republican politics has no such power.
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COMING 2016 to PRINT.