We are headed, well, I should say we’re about to be dragged into this election year. With a 24-hour news cycle, we’ll get our fill of debate and dirt on every candidate from every angle and every party from every platform.
We will sigh, roll our eyes, roar on blogs and message boards, and then as quickly as it came it will be gone.
Then we’ll have new things to complain about, such as the person who got elected and how they <shock!> didn’t save the world.
But what if our reaction to this election year could have positive effects on our spiritual life? Let me say up front, I’m not going to advocate any one political position in this post. I have positions, but they aren’t important to this discussion. The reality is that whether you’re conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat or Independent,
you have a soul that God has shaped and desires to inhabit and transform into the working and beautiful masterpiece He originally created it to be.
So, what does our reaction to the upcoming political season and politics in general say about our spiritual life
1. Our reaction reveals the depth of our trust in God.
Whether we like it our not, the despair we express over elections reveals just how deeply we acknowledge God’s complete control over outcomes. We mourn if the “right person” doesn’t get elected because we in some ways invested that person with the value of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth “…as it is in Heaven.” (Matt. 6). There is only one person worthy of us trusting the outcomes of life and work to, and that person doesn’t change every four years. What does it do to our character and integrity in Christ to invest that much trust in a political figure instead of God?
2. Our reaction reveals the depth of our love for others.
Justice and compassion are significant markers of those who love and follow Jesus. However, it can be very easy for our justice and compassion to become scarce when we approach the polls because we begin to think in terms of “party” rather than “person.” By nature, a political party is built to protect the interests of it’s constituents, not the needs of others. This is how we can vote for and debate in favor of policies and programs that are in direct contradiction to the very actions and life of the Christ we claim to follow.
3. Our reaction shows the level of our conformity to Jesus and the Scriptures.
Should we support military action (I’m not speaking of whether we should support individual soldiers, but strategies and plans) if we desire to live and act in accordance with the Scriptures? War is prominent in the Old Testament, but so are other practices that we would not advocate in the present day. I’ve dealt with this question on so many occasions but it is a question that should drive us to examine whether or not there is a wide canyon between our political leanings and the Scriptures. God has called us to love one another – why then are we okay with watching news programs where talking heads spew anger and insults at the opposing party’s representatives? Why does political discussion fall outside the accountability of "peace, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, generosity, faithfulness and self-control"? (Gal. 5:22-23)
I don’t write this post to induce guilt – far from it – but to give us a simple barometer with which to take an honest look at where we stand on these key reactions. What does our political activity and reaction to campaign season say about our soul and where we are headed?
Are we headed to a place of peace and joy?
Are we headed to a divided heart and a divided life?
Your thoughts? Just a note, I’m going to moderate these comments heavily – I wouldn’t expect you to prove my point by posting some kind of violent and unloving comment however.