First and foremost: I do not want to share this. But I am going to, because when I started this blog and this ministry, I promised to always yield to what I felt like the Holy Spirit wanted me to say. Please know that while anyone and everyone is welcome here, this post is specifically addressing Christians. And, unfortunately, I’m going to address the elephant/donkey in the room. Politics.
I have Christian friends on both sides of their political line, and I don’t question whether either group is going to Heaven. Because Jesus died for our sins, not our political affiliations. Voting one way or the other will not kick us out of Heaven. (I can’t believe I even have to say this.)
I know there are strong feelings all around, but please hear me out. There is a perspective that is bigger than the Republican or Democratic platform, and that’s the Gospel perspective.
Right now, both sides are manipulating what the other side is saying in order to create an “absolute good” and an “absolute evil.”
“If you vote Republican, then you are a racist.”
“If you vote Democrat, then you hate babies.”
I promise you that most Republicans are not racist, and most Democrats don’t hate babies. Absolute good and absolute evil only exist in spiritual terms, and we will only widen the gap between us when we continue projecting perceived moral failings onto each other. When we say one group of people is morally superior to another, based solely on the way they are going to vote, we further divide the body of Christ.
So, let’s move away from the “If/Then” statements. When we need to engage in political or deeply personal, moral conversations, can we agree to have them off of social media and away from the mob mentality? Because I don’t know about you, but I have never once changed my mind after a heated argument on Facebook, where someone called me names or went on a tangent about things I never said or believed in the first place.
Every time we jump to the absolute worst conclusion based on a simple statement, we lose the ability to find any middle ground. We lose credibility, not only to the person we are talking to, but also to all the people reading the conversation from the sidelines.
And, let’s face it. This year, people are already broken. Fear is already overwhelming. Anxiety is already running rampant. Depression is already winning. Christ-followers are not supposed to add to those emotions; they are supposed to demonstrate the way out of them.
And the only thing that can combat that kind of hurt is deep, unflinching love.
Talking in love. Walking in love. Giving in love.
Not screaming about love while neglecting to show it.
Love is an action. It is taking the time to invest in people. Acknowledging that you disagree on things, but taking the time to learn why. Hearing people out and getting to the heart of why they want to vote the way they do. Because even though political culture is polarizing, Jesus can satisfy the deepest desires of BOTH sides.
You want to help the struggling and economically depressed community? So does Jesus! You want to protect the lives of the innocent, or the unborn? So does Jesus! You want to see improvements in the care for the impoverished, the handicapped, or the marginalized population? So does Jesus! You are annoyed by the hypocritical religious leaders? So was Jesus!
Yes, there are going to be some people you will never see eye to eye with. And it’s okay to walk away from those conversations, but it’s not okay to leave even more destruction, or judgement, or anxiety in your wake. Instead, plant a seed of hope. Listen. Allow yourself to feel compassion for the pain someone is going through, even if you don’t agree with their proposed solutions.
Because it is possible to disagree with someone’s conclusion (i.e. Republicans are racists and Democrats hate babies) while still agreeing that things could be better. While still agreeing that the world isn’t perfect, and we have a lot of work to do as individuals who believe in the power of the Holy Spirit within us to change things.
Our political affiliations should never come before our responsibilities as sons and daughters of the living God. Nobody elected here on earth has the power to save souls. Only God can do that—and He can do it no matter who is President. So, please don’t walk around like God can’t win if your party loses. That premise diminishes the power of the Holy Spirit and gives people the impression of a God who is limited by the government. We don’t lose or forfeit our power no matter who wins the election because our power as Christians comes from our Savior, not a politician. God tells His church to go out and change the world, not to sit home, cast a ballot, and then go back into hibernation. If you don’t agree with the policies under any president, look for ways the church can step in and make a difference.
Neither side is 100% perfect, and acknowledging that is a step in the right direction toward the message of reconciliation that God’s people are meant to preach. We are in dangerous waters when we begin replacing the message of the Gospel with political party lines.
When He walked on this earth, Jesus gravitated to people who were hurting and marginalized because those are the people hungriest for the love of God. They are not our enemies; they are our mission field.
Jesus might have flipped the table in the temple out of anger, but the whole reason this was so significant was because it was so out of character for Him. He didn’t go around flipping tables and flinging whips every single day because He couldn’t stand listening to opinions that differed from His. Jesus preached blessed are the peacekeepers, the merciful, and the meek. That type of anger was not a daily part of His life; it was reserved for the gravest of offenses.
And even then—even despite His anger toward the money-changers and those who were taking advantage of His Father’s house, preventing people from coming to worship, He went to the cross and died for them anyways.
If you are prepared to flip a table to show your anger at a group of people, are you also prepared to die for them to show them the truth of God’s love?
Since your body is now the temple of God, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, are you willing to flip a few of your own tables? Are you willing to search for anything in your own life or heart that might be preventing someone else from coming to worship and root it out?
Because Jesus never stopped short. He didn’t just preach some vague good news; He also physically showed people what that good news looked like in practical ways. Jesus never fell short in His calling, but oh, how we have fallen short in ours when we tie salvation in to an election. Earthly laws will not change a heart, and a changed heart will not need the laws.
Scripture reminds us that God does not destroy or guilt us into repentance. He loves us into it. Romans 2 says that He withholds His judgement and lavishes us with goodness and kindness that is meant to lead us into repentance. How far His church has strayed from His example. This does not mean that we should diminish the truth or lower the standards of God’s perfect laws; it simply reminds us that we should withhold our judgement and remind the world of the goodness and depth of His love for us if we want to see changed minds.
God’s love is unreserved. Present. Powerful. It is not dismissive or destructive. It does not diminish one person in order to elevate another. It bridges gaps. It digs to the root of the lies people are believing and uproots them, replacing them with His truth. It overwhelms anxiety and casts out depression. God’s love always leaves people feeling lighter and less burdened than they did before they encountered it, because it is so pure. His only agenda is to bring the dead to life!
So, what is your agenda? If you are professing the name of Christ, yet everyone walks away from their conversations with you feeling judged and condemned, what do you think their opinion of God’s love will be?
As Christians, when we yell about God’s love but don’t operate in it, we sound like hypocrites and give a false impression of what His love looks like. If you want to see a changed world, show people the unfiltered love of Jesus, which transcends political lines and country borders. His love is bigger than a political affiliation and it is certainly bigger than the U.S. election. The Gospel needs to be spread to the ends of the earth, not just shouted in your neighbor’s ear.
Who do you think is responsible for the condition of this world?
We point the finger at unbelievers, blaming them for the brokenness, but is it not the sacred duty of believers—who have been given dominion over this earth through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit—to manifest Heaven on earth? To show unbelievers the power and love of their mighty God? To be more than conquerors through Him who loves us? Scripture says that OUR faith is the victorious power that triumphs over the world.
Unbelievers are typically the most broken among us, utterly unaware of how deeply and unreservedly loved they are. It says in God’s Word that we love because He first loved us. So, how would we expect people to respond who are unaware of His love? When the world is unfair or unjust, human nature is to respond in fear, or desperation, or anger. Who are we to judge anyone for reacting that way if we are not walking in our calling and showing them an alternative world, where the least among us are deeply loved, and cared for, and provided for?
It should break our hearts that people think the only way to fix this world is to burn it down.
If that thought moves us to anger, it should be anger toward the enemy—that he has sufficiently crippled the church, leaving us walking around in a dark and broken world with the light and power of the Holy Spirit contained within us, unable to turn on the switch.
Political lines drawn in the dirt will create division, but the Gospel—at its heart—creates unity. It brings us together against a single enemy, reminding us that if we feel the world is not as it should be, we have the power to change it! Not just through who we vote for, but through the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us. The Gospel changes hearts, and breaks down barriers, and provides answers to the questions that no laws can sufficiently address.
I don’t want to tell you who to vote for; I just want to remind you who to keep your focus on.
So, the thought I leave you with is this:
Are you more focused on winning an argument, an election, or a soul?
Because only one of those victories will have eternal impact.