You Cannot Avoid Politics
I get it, I get it. Maybe I’m just a millennial but this election is a tremendous beat down. Staying informed is like chewing chalk. It takes too much time and there isn’t much reward. I wouldn’t mind just putting my head in the sand, but that option isn’t offered to me as a follower of Jesus.
It’s not an option for you, either.
Now I am not saying that we should raise the flag of the party that we tend to align with. In fact, I’d argue that we should avoid doing anything of the sort. If you are a Christian, your allegiance is set and it isn’t to the right or the left. Your allegiance is to God himself and his word will guide your steps.
I once had a young man tell me he was a Texan first and a Catholic second. He was a politically charged young man and the statement was in the context of a conversation about politics. His allegiance was off.
When is the last time you had a conversation with a person who has the opposite view on political issues as you? If this conversation has happened at all, how did it go? Did your skin bristle? Did your walls go up? Now let me take this a step further. If you are a Christian, would you have more in common with someone who shares your faith or your politics? Think about it.
One thing that this election cycle has done – at least in my circle of friends – is unite people in bewilderment. I’ve only been around for a few decades now, but I can’t remember an election this childish. Candidates are all over the place it seems. I’ve talked with conservatives and liberals alike who are pretty shocked by it all. Some feel their party has betrayed them, and that’s just what I’m talking about. We must hold our convictions in our heart, not glean them from some person behind a podium. (If you choose the glean convictions from a podium, though – I hope it’s a pulpit and I hope God’s word is faithfully preached.)
There is a time, if you become vocationally involved in politics, that you’ll pick a party. Last I checked, most senators don’t select “other” as their party. You must pick a team if you’re going to get in the game. And of course this is understandable. Most of us could pick a party rather quickly, even if by process of elimination.
For those of us who are regular Joes and Janes without jobs in politics, I hope we are open-minded with strong convictions. An oxymoron? I don’t think so. If we hold strong convictions, we should be open to reason (James 3:17), because we will not fear that our ideas will be shot out from underneath us. I’ll say this, if someone has an explanation for why my idea is wrong and they pull that idea from the truth of Scripture, I’m all ears. We should always be willing to test our ideas and even test our convictions. If your ideas cannot withstand scrutiny, they are not worth holding.
I wish I could just bow out of politics altogether, but the issues are too important. They affect me, my family, and you, my fellow man. If I stick my head in the sand, I will shirk my duty to love my neighbor as myself and I will choose apathy over speaking the truth in love.
We cannot avoid politics even if we try. And we shouldn’t. They say you shouldn’t discuss religion or politics in polite company, but I would sure rather talk about religion or politics than some paper thin small talk. Hopefully the conversation doesn’t turn dogmatic and defensive, but at least the conversation is about something that matters.
One last thing. Paul urges us in 1 Timothy 2 to pray for our leaders. We are to pray so that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life. These prayers are pleasing to God. I confess I cannot remember the last time I prayed for our political leaders. I reckon it’s time I do that.