Pretty much anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I tend to become a bit *ahem* passionate about politics and my views therein. While a healthy amount of informed passion is not a bad thing, in fact, it is a good thing, I have come to realize that there comes a point when this passion just turns into justified hatred. The moment I realized this was the moment I knew something had to change.
As a follower of Christ, I know that it is wrong to hate people. Everyone, no matter what they believe in, is made in the image of God and they are loved by God. Even if they blatantly defy him, his desire is for them to come to repentance and have a relationship with him; that’s the whole reason he sent his Son to die on the cross. That act of love was for ALL who sinned, even our least favorite politician.
I and many others seem to forget this whenever election season rolls around, especially during the current typhoon. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are image bearers of God even if they don’t know him.
I am guilty of saying awful things about politicians, making fun of them, belittling them, and in general saying things that should not be the product of a gentle, redeemed spirit. That’s the thing, I want to characterize by 1 Peter 3:4, which says that from your inner self should come “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.” Mind you, the context of this verse is finding your worth in God and not in other things; however, I believe that this is applicable because fruitless political rants aren’t indicative of that work in your life. Shouldn’t we be pursuing what is “of great worth in God’s sight” in all areas of life? If so, I’m quite sure that hateful speech coming out of the mouths of his children is not something God finds value in or something we should produce. There is no such thing as justified hatred.
Luke 6:45 says, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” When we spout hate toward rulers (or candidates for positions of power), what does that say in regards to the content of our hearts? This thought, in particular, has recently stopped me dead in my tracks. I may wholeheartedly disagree with the position a politician takes on an issue but that doesn’t give me the right to speak in a derogatory manner.
This election season has revealed some things stored up in my heart that I don’t want in there. These are things that I must answer for and further submission to this product of fear is unacceptable as someone redeemed from the bondage of sin.
Product of Fear
The angry, sinful reactions revealed during this election season are not simply the reactions of a concerned patriot, but of a terrified individual not trusting in God.
Romans 13 tells us to be “subject to the governing authorities.” This means that Republicans are to be subject to Democratic rulers should they happen to be in office and Democrats are to be subject to Republican rulers should they happen to be in office. This is a Biblical mandate that we must follow always. We should heed the example set by the Jewish exiles in Babylon during the time of Daniel; subjection is of great worth in Gods sight.
This idea of respecting those in authority is something I have struggled with, especially when in my mind the one deserving that respect did nothing to earn it. As crazy as it sounds, each of the current prospects is where they are for a reason. We must trust God in that knowledge.
Americans Have Trust Issues
No matter who is president Jesus Christ is King. I don’t who takes credit for this little maxim, but it is something we must know and trust.
It seems that as Americans we have inherent trust issues. We don’t trust our politicians and we don’t trust God.
As Proverbs 3:5 famously states, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” This election season we are clouded by our own biased understanding and we are not seeking the wisdom of God; we are not trusting Him and the things He is doing through this election.
With all of this said, we also need to be informed. We have a responsibility as Christians and as Americans to understand what we are facing and what we are voting for. Be informed and vote for the values that align with what God says. He can handle the rest.As this election stares us in the face, we must act in love and with a gentle spirit because if not we are just fanning the fire of hatred. We need to set aside political affiliations, stances on the issues and personal biases and we must fervently pray for those in office as well as for those preparing to take the mantle of leadership. Our only hope is found in God; He is in control of this election, not us.