Yesterday was Super Tuesday, and, yes, I exercised my right to vote.
I tend to shy away from political statements on my blog because I am first and foremost committed to using my blog to point others to Christ. After all, He is the only hope for us as individuals and for us as a nation. The last thing I would want to do is to make a political statement that offends one who is struggling, one who might need my words of encouragement.
But today, I am launching into a political statement…kind of.
I have no intentions of sharing my political leanings (although you might discern my tendencies). I have no intention of criticizing any one political party. I have no intentions of demeaning anyone whose political leanings might differ from mine.
In fact, I hope to do the exact opposite. I hope to encourage every single Christian to take a long, hard look at their opinions, compare those beliefs to scripture, and ask everyone to take a deep breath before uttering another political statement.
I have heard so many people using scripture to justify their political opinions. We should open our borders to refugees because that’s the Christian thing to do. We must stand against abortion because that’s the Christian thing to do. We must take from the rich and give to the poor to reach a point of income equality because that’s the Christian thing to do. We must not approve of same-sex marriage because that’s the Christian thing to do.
There’s only one problem: The Bible was written to Christians, not to a secular government. The government of the United States (or any other country) is not under the mandates of scripture. The Bible only applies to those of us who have chosen to accept the free gift of our Savior Jesus Christ.
As a matter of fact, scripture teaches us that the message of the cross, the message of Christianity, is foolishness to those who do not believe (1 Corinthians 1:18). We simply cannot ask or expect anyone who does not believe in Jesus Christ to live by the same standards we do. We cannot impose our beliefs, our convictions, on a world without Christ. So, when the government legalizes something that we as Christians do not agree with, it should not surprise us.
Yes, our country is straying further and further away from Christian ideals. But, to me, it’s kind of exciting! You see, the darker it gets, the brighter our light will shine for Christ — if we are truly committed to walking in fellowship with Him, to sharing His love with a lost and dying world. God is not looking to keep us comfortable. I’m afraid that’s a large part of the problem: many American Christians have subscribed to a westernized brand of Christianity that keeps us comfortable, and God is trying to stir us up to action. He wants us to see our need for Him. He wants us to live with an “all in” mentality that says all that I am, all that I have, is His. God’s best work is done when all looks hopeless and lost.
Even though I can rejoice over God’s work in the darkness, my heart grieves. I grieve for the deep division in our nation. I grieve over the hatred and vitriol that is spewed. I grieve over those who constantly point fingers and fail to accept responsibility for their own actions. I grieve for those who are hurting, those in despair, those who feel hopeless. I grieve for those who have lost loved ones in senseless acts of violence. I grieve for my fellow Americans.
So what can we as Christians do to heal our land?
We must start with repentance. When Solomon dedicated the temple, God told the Israelites that there would be difficult times because of their unfaithfulness. But God promised to hear their prayers when they returned to Him.
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
As Christians, we must be on our knees. We must ask God to search us, to reveal hidden sins. We must seek Him with all of our heart, turning from the wickedness that abounds. Then, God promises to be attentive to our prayers, to restore our land.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. James 1:19
There are many voices spouting anger. Instead of following the crowd, we must seek to listen. Listen to the hurt of others. Seek to understand their point of view. We must remember to think before we speak. We must remember that we represent God in every conversation, that others are watching us to see if our light shines brightly.
Before you allow your anger to get the best of you, step back and take a deep breath. Take a few minutes to listen closely, to hear the words that perhaps aren’t being said. Look for the hurt behind the words. Make a conscious attempt to look at the situation from their point of view.
Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? James 2:15-16
We can talk about caring for the less fortunate all we want. But, unless we act, we are not fulfilling the scriptures. Our faith is dead (James 2:17).
The government is not responsible for meeting the needs of those who are in need; that is our responsibility as Christians. We need to put our money to work, coming alongside those who need assistance, offering a hand up to better circumstances. Do you know a single mom? Maybe her kids need clothes or shoes. Do you know someone recently released from prison? Extend a helping hand. Do you know an elderly couple? Offer to care for their yard.
If you truly love God, you will be looking for ways to care for others. After all, pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you (James 1:27).
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32
Kindness will go so much further than anger and bitterness. The proverbs tell us that a kind answer turns away wrath (15:1). You can never go wrong with a kind word, a gentle answer.
I have been personally attacked online. I’ve been attacked because I am divorced. I have been attacked for disagreeing with someone’s political opinion. I have learned that it does no good to argue. I simply choose to say, “God bless you,” and shut down the argument. Sometimes I have to fight anger and bitterness, but I know the best way to handle it is to simply extend forgiveness. The anger hurts no one except me.
Scripture teaches us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us. It’s not the easy way, but it is definitely the best way.
As we watch the field of presidential candidates shrink, I pray we all carefully consider the implications. I pray we all take time to think, to love, to listen, to act. I pray we all show genuine love and compassion to others. Above all, I pray we repent and seek His face.
Who will I vote for? Above all, I am looking for a candidate with integrity, honesty. I am looking for a candidate who will sincerely try to lead this country to the best of his/her ability. I am looking for a candidate who will look out for the people of the United States, not his/her own ego. I am looking for a candidate who will own up to his failures.
Any president/presidential candidate will fail us. But God. God is completely trustworthy. He is completely faithful, even when we are faithless. He—and only He—can save this country.