So, are you elated? Are you deflated? Are you psyched that your candidate/ party won, and now they are going to fix everything that is wrong with the world? Are you disheartened that your party/candidate lost, and now the world is going to end?
I hate politics. As much as I used to love the 24-hour news cycle, talk radio, and politics in general, I have grown to absolutely abhor it. I far prefer to watch MMA fights–at least there, you see the opponents have some respect for each other.
I realize I’m overstating it a bit, but I know for a fact that some people are high as a kite today, and some are bottomed out. It happens every election cycle–there are winners and losers. That’s just they way it works. But surprise! Life goes on, no matter who is in what office.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. “Pastor! You should be more involved in the political process! You should support candidates to the best of your ability! The law provides that you can etc.–“. I know. Thanks. But I also know that the answers to the problems of this nation–of this world– are not going to be solved by the election of, or voting out of, one person or another.
I can hear the next argument: “We should stand up against immoral rulers!” Let’s be clear–we should stand against what the Bible teaches as sin, absolutely. We should do so, however, in love, as Paul points out in Ephesians 4:15. What I am seeing more and more in the world of politics is less and less love. And I’m talking about Christians. For example, when I read people on Facebook, who are Christians, posting hateful things about anyone–politics or not–I can’t help but cringe. What kind of message are we sending? The world already knows what we’re against–are we doing anything to show them what we’re for? Where does faith, hope and love come in to play when we’re speaking with such personal venom?
Paul wrote this instruction to one of his “sons” in the ministry, Titus, who was ministering to the church in Crete: “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:1-7).
We are always quick to verbally assault people whose beliefs are diametrically opposed to ours. We create cardboard cutouts of them, oversimplifying them so that we can more easy villify and attack them without our conscience bothering us too much. Did you see what Paul was saying to Titus? Be ready to do good works toward people, and that means all people. Speak evil of no one–that means even people you don’t like or that don’t like you. “Be peaceable, gentle, showing humility to all men”. Did you see that “all” there?
Why are we to be this way toward all people, even those whose lifestyles approve of, if not outright glorify, sinful conduct? Because, as Paul said, we were just like that before the grace of Christ changed our hearts and lives forever. The only thing that seperates a Christian from the worst sinner on the planet is their acceptance of the gift of salvation through the atoning death of Christ. I am no better than anyone else because apart from Christ, I am just like them. Heaven help me on the day that I think I am superior to anyone else. Christ the only one who is superior, and He humbled Himself to the point of death on the cross so that I could be free of sin, and share His love and grace with a world in desperate need of it. There’s our example.
Besides, we need to remember how people get into positions of authority: “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God [emphasis mine], and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1). The Bible makes very plain that God puts people in authority according to His sovereign plan, either for good or for evil. While we should certainly stand against things we believe to be wrong according to Scripture, we must always remember to do so in love.
To sink to the level of personal attacks and meanness is an insult to what Christ did on the cross for mankind. Jesus Himself said: “The one who believes in Me believes not in Me, but in Him who sent Me. And the one who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me would not remain in darkness. If anyone hears My words and doesn’t keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects Me and doesn’t accept My sayings has this as his judge: the word I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a command as to what I should say and what I should speak. I know that His command is eternal life. So the things that I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me” (John 12:44-50). Jesus willingly gave His life on the cross to pay for the sin of mankind and enable us to spend eternity with Him. He did this out of love. And that is to be our motivation as well.
So if you don’t like the way the elections turned out, or you’re very pleased, realize this: the only way the world can be changed is through changed hearts, and the only one who can change a heart is Jesus. Regardless of who is in Washington, or Columbia, or any other capital, God is on His throne, and that is what really matters.