The policies and choices of nations have real consequences! Today’s vote can have repercussions felt a generation later. Who governs does matter. I hear some say naively say, “Oh, they’re all the same. Will it make any difference if we elect Trump or Clinton?” Yes, it will. Can I predict exactly how they will govern, what they will do, the policies they will put in place? Of course not. However, it is possible to take a look at the person and discern how they view the world, the way they see people, and from that to generally predict their governance.
I, like many Americans today, am tempted to disengage from the process. Neither of the present candidates for the Presidency give me any sense of confidence about the future. Given the rise of nationalism and fear in our turbulent world, we need a person of wisdom and character to lead courageously. Yesterday, with the vote in Britain to leave the EU, a whole new set of issues were introduced to world politics. That stunning vote by the people in our sister nation reveals just how things like economic stagnation and inequality, continuing conflicts in Syria and Iraq, increasing war talk from Russia and North Korea, and a hundred other concerns can provoke huge shifts in public opinion.
Can a Christian be political?
Yes, but the politics of disciples of Christ must not be formed by self-interest or fear! We must bring the values of our Lord to our discussions and our votes. “Love your neighbor” does not stop when it comes to government. The best government is shaped by compassion, justice, and concern for all persons. That may sound idealistic to some, but it is a clear and consistent call of God in Scripture. The OT prophets warned that God had not turned a blind eye to the oppressive politics of the powerful.
God spoke through Isaiah to His people – “Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:16 NIV)
Micah pled for change. “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8, NLT)
Jesus tells us that our love for God and love for others are the two GREAT commands! Our politics must not be divorced from these.
Solutions for social challenges are never simple nor singular. Politicians often resort to slogans and single issues to garner votes, implying that changing this or that will save us. We must be wiser. When violence erupts like it did in Orlando, we must not be duped by those who suggest that a vote for some law will eliminate future murderous rampages. But, we cannot apathetically sit on our hands and do nothing. Our call, my friends, must be for real dialogue not grandstanding. Our demands of our leaders must be for commitment to justice. And, we must patiently and persistently work together to shape a future that honors God and forms a foundation for prosperity for the future.
As you ponder politics, dear Christian, steady yourself in God’s promise. Whatever your political persuasions, let the wisdom of Heaven be your guide. Here is a word from the Word. May it make us good citizens of this temporal realm even as we live as subjects of the Eternal King.
“Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear.
Do you want to be on good terms with the government? Be a responsible citizen and you’ll get on just fine, the government working to your advantage. But if you’re breaking the rules right and left, watch out. The police aren’t there just to be admired in their uniforms.
God also has an interest in keeping order, and he uses them to do it. That’s why you must live responsibly—not just to avoid punishment but also because it’s the right way to live. That’s also why you pay taxes—so that an orderly way of life can be maintained. Fulfill your obligations as a citizen. Pay your taxes, pay your bills, respect your leaders.” (Romans 13:1-7, The Message)
On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking stand!