(copied from today’s Delaware Gazette – Pastors Perspective Column)
Nothing makes our society’s collective blood pressure rise like a presidential election. The televised debates are already being critiqued and rehashed in our living rooms, board rooms, and chat rooms.
As a Christian and a Pastor, I am grateful that our ultimate realities are never won or lost at election polls, but rather, at the Cross.
If a Christian is by definition a believer and follower of Jesus Christ…
If a Christian is someone who trusts in the Sovereignty of God…
If a Christian trusts God with his or her future – this life and the next…
…then a Christian would want to honor Jesus in thoughts, words, and actions during an election year.
Jesus clearly calls us to follow Him and share His “Good News” in our world. He gives a crystal-clear charge to be his “witnesses” to the very ends of the earth (Acts 1:6-8). He reminds us to be prepared to talk about the hope we have in Jesus Christ – and to do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15)!
Though it was written during the reign of the Empire-building, blood-thirsty Romans, the New Testament pays little attention to government or politics.
Not once does the Apostle Paul write, “I’ve had it up to here with our Emperor and his violent ways. We must speak up against political injustices of our time!” Not once did the disciple, John, pray, “Lord, please take Roman rulers away and give us a leader who will make our society better!”
Not once. Why? Here are a few possibilities…
Because followers of Jesus should view current issues in light of God’s eternal plan. Do we really need to fear or fight about the temporary future when our God is forever “for us” no matter what happens?
Because followers of Jesus should not be easily worried or provoked to anger. If you’re filled with worry, remember that Jesus promised that our world would experience trouble. If you’re quickly angered, please take a deep breath and thank Jesus for overcoming the world. No matter who wins the election, God is still ultimately in charge.
Because followers of Jesus should remember that we are not “of this world.” Can you imagine an election season where Christ-followers are easy to talk with, and not easily baited into heated arguments or Facebook battles? What if others could see your humble and quiet confidence in God, no matter what is going on in the world?
I read somewhere that Christians are to be “in the world but not of the world.” I heard that followers of Jesus are actually a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” – regardless of where they live or how much they like their earthly government.
Let me affirm that we should all be informed about the issues and seek God’s wisdom in how and when to voice our opinions. By all means, get involved in ways that reflect your Christian values and help work toward solutions that benefit society. Tread carefully, though, because even the best intentions to help in this intense and volatile area of politics can result in divisiveness, name-calling, and unchristian behavior.
We must remember our true “home.” Peter writes, “I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the unbelievers that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us” (1 Peter 2:11-12).
God is looking for Aliens and Strangers – people who recognize that their home and hope are in Him, and not in this world. Their lives reflect His goodness, His authority, His hope!
As Christians, let’s trust God and not lose our cool over the presidency.
Let’s pray for our country and for our leaders, regardless of whom God allows to lead.
Let’s act with the love of Jesus and treat people with respect, dignity, and compassion regardless of disagreements. “For God so loved the world…” – and this includes Democrats and Republicans!
Let’s evaluate our own “personal rights” and “freedoms” in light of the One who surrendered His own rights and was nailed to a Cross – for us!
Let’s thank God for our country and the countless blessings He has allowed us to experience.
Let’s become God’s “aliens and strangers” – embracing the higher calling to follow Jesus and lead others to Him.
A million years from now, nobody will remember this election. But everyone will kneel and worship a true King. And may Jesus Christ, the perfect Leader, be honored by actions, words, and thoughts that demonstrate that He alone is our Hope!