Every election year I’m reminded why Christians, in particular, have a bad name. Anyone that’s looked at social media for more than 5 minutes will see the problem. No one is having thoughtful discussions about the qualifications of the candidates. There isn’t an in depth analysis of policy decisions, the very thing we’re voting for the person to make. Instead, it’s a name calling, character bashing hate fest and if you don’t support your “friend’s” candidate then you’re an idiot and a fool.
As Christians we’re supposed to set the example. We’re called to be the light of the world, a reflection of Jesus. Are we reflecting Jesus when we post a meme that calls a candidate an idiot? Are we reflecting Jesus when we judge an entire group of people based on their candidate of choice. This issue is beyond whether you agree with a candidates politics. If you’re this upset about the election that it’s causing you to lash out against your “friends” then maybe it’s time to check your heart.
The list of excuses against candidates is long; they want to kill babies, he’s an alleged rapist, they want to allow terrorists to vote, they want to take away my healthcare options, and the list can go on and on. I’m not saying that these causes aren’t worth fighting for. I’m not saying that the accusations are baseless and should be ignored. I’m suggesting that most of us are wasting our time fighting the wrong battles. Instead of name calling and getting upset, we, as Christians, need to remember who our God is.
We shouldn’t be yelling at each other. The battle is bigger than your social media followers. He’s called us to be kingdom driven leaders in this world and that means when something upsets us, He’s actually calling us to wage war with it in the spiritual. If you read the whole chapter, Paul is telling us exactly that. If you consider yourself a Christian, then you’re a brother or sister, not an enemy, even if you vote for the wrong candidate.
Love God, Love Others, that’s our commandment. Politics makes this tough. How exactly are we supposed to approach politics as Christians? Luckily we have Daniel’s example in Daniel 9:1-20
Imagine for a second that your least favorite candidate won, that’s a bad 4 year span. Daniel still had it worse. Taken into captivity, castrated and turned into a eunuch whose life could be ended at any moment by a king’s temperament. Daniel faithfully prayed and served the kings that were in authority. The book of Daniel is full of wonderful prophetic language, but behind the scenes we see a man that is devoted to God first and fulfilling his call as a kingdom driven leader. In verse 9, he models how we should approach this political season.
Repent For Your People’s Sins
Repenting for sins of others isn’t your job necessarily. However, in doing so you’re humbling yourself and acknowledging what’s wrong with society. If I repent for slavery and racism as a white Christians, it’s not because I feel guilty of it but rather I’m going on record with God that I see it as wrong and as part of the human family I’m sorry this happened. I’m saying that on behalf of the group I’m associated with I’m sorry for what happened.
It’s not enough to simply repent, we must ask God to heal our land. Cause our eyes to be opened to the opportunities to love others. Behind every tantrum thrown is a hurting person. The political season often reminds us more of our differences, past rejections and even wounds. This season isn’t an opportunity to renew your past fights, but rather an opportunity to help others. Make your request known to God and expect to see opportunities to love on others.
In Daniel 6, we read the famous story of Daniel and lion’s den. We often miss the reason he was thrown into the den in the first place. Instead of hiding or following the decrees, he prayed to God and God alone, three times a day! This is crucial for us as Christians, especially in this season. We must remain resolute in prayer and be willing to take a stand on the things that matter. How someone votes is not reflective of who they are and it’s certainly not something that we should cause strife over.
The reality is that we all have issues that are more important to us than others. As Christians, these differences can lead us to tackle the many issues our world has. Sometimes a holy discontentment will arise as God gives us a mission from those very issues! However, for the sake of the unbelievers and to reflect Christ’s love we should lovingly accept others that have different views than ourselves. It’s worth repeating, this isn’t about giving up your causes, it’s about giving up your need to be right in a discussion. Your testimony is worth more than a political agenda.