Elections, Faith, and Responsible Response

Oh boy. I’m in for it on this one… but I can’t help myself.  I get so beleaguered by the after-election posts of the Christian people whose political person/party lost out and then give in to this despair of, “Oh, no!  Now what will we do?  This can’t possibly be what God had in mind!”  Well, yeah He did.  Now, before you go saying that this is just one Christian persuasion, it’s both sides that do this.  The Republican/evangelical/conservative types do it. The Democrat/liberal/mainline types do it.  

SO.  It’s OK to be frustrated that a person you put a vote in for didn’t win.  That’s one thing.  “Man, I wish Candidate A would’ve won.  I really think he/she would have done a better job.” types of sentiments are cool and understandable.  What is less cool are the “Candidate B is the Antichrist and will bring this country down.  You heathens that voted for him/her have made Jesus weep.  God have mercy on us all.” types of posts I see on social media.  They’re irrational and alarmist.  And on a less spiritual note, getting into political-type things- they add fuel to the fires of partisanship that are wrecking our state and national politics.  Think: Don’t feed the bears.  

OK, maybe Candidate B really is the Antichrist!  In which case, a ballot box/screen/hanging chad isn’t going to alleviate that… sorry.  I also have to tell you, if you believe in a sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient God who is in control… Jesus isn’t sitting at the right hand of the Father saying, “Dad!  Did you see those election returns?  What are we going to do now?!  I’m sleeping with the lights on tonight.”  We have grossly over-spiritualized and, really in many cases, idolized our politics in this nation.  

Romans 13:1-4 is an excellent passage that deals with the fact that none of this passes under God’s radar.  Verse one reads, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (NIV 84)  Isn’t that what Jesus told Pilate in John 19:11, too?  What about Cyrus and his decree?  I use these to illustrate the idea that God is in control of what’s going on and will use the things that confuse us (such as how could Candidate B with those abhorrent policies be elected) for His glory.  He will make it work, and when He does it’s gonna be awesome!

Which brings me to the next thought: the sentiment of “this country’s going to hell in a handbasket”.  You’ll get no argument from me.  Surprised?  Well, take a look at 2 Timothy 4:3-4.  Paul tells his young protege that the time will come when people no longer want to listen to the things that are right, but want to “suit their own desires, [so] they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (v.3 NIV 84)  And that could be any number of issues that come (sometimes legitimately, sometimes unlegitimately) from both sides.  But the fact remains that we shouldn’t be shocked to see that things that don’t line up with our faith are happening in public discourse.  Do we have to like it?  No.  Is this what the Bible says is going to happen?  Yes.

So, I guess there’s no hope then, right?  Hang in the towel.  Wait a second- this polling place known as Earth hasn’t closed down yet.  Now, we shouldn’t lay down and just wait for Jesus to return, sitting idly while things happen that are contrary to the things we as Christians hold dear.  All throughout the Old and New Testaments I see leaders of the faith that are involved in, even living and working in, pagan cultures yet they still make a way to serve their Lord.  It wasn’t through voting, and then posting on Facebook about it!  They served by being willing servants, and by making sure that they had their priorities in place.  They put God first.  Some of these men led their brethren to a revival of their faith and courage to stand firm for God.  Nehemiah comes to mind.  Haggai, also was a prophet who had to jumpstart a complacent nation and get them fired up to rebuild the temple.  Peter preached to a giant crowd in the book of Acts- a crowd that was laughing at Christ’s followers at first then ended up with 3000ish people getting baptized and the start of the church.  

So, what did they do?  They worried less about the things they couldn’t control and focused more on making God and His glory known to the world around them.  I feel that we, as Christ’s church, are called to be the stalwarts of faith, not through griping on Facebook and creating division about politics, but through the real action of sharing God’s word and the powerful message of the cross- the love that God has for this world and the only hope we have through His mercy and grace.  Politicians can’t offer this hope.  Republicans and Democrats will fall short.  Jesus won’t.  We have work to do campaigning for Him!

 

 

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