And they will know we are Christians by our vote?
Alright, week number 2 of blogging. Last week was personal and honestly quite laid back. This week I decided to jump right into the fire and tackle politics. Yes, I know I am crazy! I'm sure that this post will offend some, but this is not my intention in any way, shape, or form. I feel that something needs to be said about the current election fiasco that has engulfed our nation. As you might be able to tell from my title, there is some sarcasm in store in this blog, but I only do it to make a point. Bear with me and please try not to be offended :).
Let's start by getting one thing clear, I WILL BE VOTING on November 8th. I believe that I owe it to the men and women who have laid down their lives for the sake of a free nation that I have had the privilege of living in all my life. It is my civic duty to exercise my right that has been bought with the blood of so many. I want to get this out of the way so that I am not misunderstood. As far as my vote, lets just say that I am voting for Donald Rodham Johnson (I'll keep you guessing).
With that being said, I want to share my opinion on the rhetoric I have been seeing and hearing from my brothers and sisters in Christ (at least the conservative ones in my circle) on social media and in countless conversations that are being held everywhere I go. I don't care if you want to share your opinion on politics or why you are voting for a certain person. I don't even care if you tell others who you think they should vote for. And I also don't care if you tell people that they are not being patriotic if they don't show up to the polling places and vote. You have the right and the freedom to do all of those things. However, there are a few things that are being said that I think are being said that are greatly degrading the name of Christ and casting the wrong light on evangelical Christians. I will address them one at a time.
1.) "Such and Such a candidate is a terrible person because they __________________(fill in the blank).
Yes, the candidates are terrible people. All of them. They are crooked, perverse, arrogant, hateful, etc, etc, etc. Actually, if they are human then this is indeed the case. The Bible teaches us that all are sinners and that we are totally depraved and can do no real good without God. That is the simple truth. For us who have committed to Christ and received His redemption, we have hope despite our sinful state because we have accepted the death and resurrection of Christ to save us from this sin so that we can be righteous in Christ. We have no hope in ourselves. We shouldn't expect political candidates to be good people (in God's eyes), its impossible! So for us as Christians to complain and cast judgment on them in seemingly hateful ways is not a proper attitude. To point out sin is one thing, but to drag them through the mud is no better that either of the campaigns. Let us be loving in our conduct. (See 1 Corinthians 5:12-13, let God be their judge!)
2.) "If you don't vote for so and so, you are not a good Christian."
Okay, so not too many people actually say those exact words, but that is the insinuation that I have seen several times on social media (we wouldn't dare say it to someone's face!). First of all, we don't find our eternal security in what other people think. So if I vote for a candidate that you don't like, I'm sorry, but you can't tell me that I am not a Christian or a "good" one. That is between God and myself. I could tell you that anyone who likes the color red is not living the Christian life well because it is a symbol the devil. That doesn't make me right! Now, maybe you do like red for that reason, or maybe you just like it because it looks cool. Who am I to judge your motive? I know a political candidate is on a different level than a color choice, but for every reason you could give for a reason that someone is not worthy of a Christian's vote, someone else will have an equally valid reason that the other candidate is not worthy. Let's face it, Jesus Christ isn't running for president (even though He is the ruler over all).
Secondly, God doesn't differentiate between "good" and "bad" Christians. We are all saved despite our sin, not because of our lack of it. There are some that have come further in their christian growth, but as I see it I don't believe that our growth is determined by who we vote for, but by who we live for (Galatians 2:20).
Finally, we as Christians should never be defined by our political views. Jesus didn't die for us to become republicans or democrats, He died for us to become His disciples. Whatever side of the aisle I am on does not depend on my salvation and neither does my salvation depend on my political views. How should we be defined? That's easy..."by this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35). It is our love for others that defines how "good" of a Christian we are. We are called to love others in the same way that Jesus has loves us. So please, don't try to decide whether I am a good Christian or not based on who I vote for. I will do the same for you.
3.) "If you don't vote for anyone, you are a bad Christian!"
Once again, this is not usually explicitly stated, but it is inferred. I will echo all my thoughts from point 2. To add to this though, I would say that if you want to call me a bad American if I didn't vote, please do. Call me unpatriotic and offensive to our country. I'll take that. As I said in my introduction, I am voting because it is my civic duty. But lets be clear, I am not voting because it is my Christian duty (especially in this election when none of the candidates truly stand for Christian values). My duty as a Christian is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, not vote in my country's election. The United States of America is not God. I'm afraid that too many of us forget this important truth. And by the way, as much as we would like it to be, the US is not really a Christian nation. It may have been founded on Christian values, but I think it is clear that this is no longer the case.
So what's the point? Why did I dive in to the bottomless pit of politics? I am afraid that we as Christians have placed our hope in the wrong thing. We are so tempted to find hope in people, the political process, and our country. I'm afraid that our security and identity can come from who we are as Americans instead of who we are in Christ. This is not the way it should be! This election, let us not get caught up in the fear of what could happen but instead put our trust in Christ alone. Let's face it, our country is spiraling downward and we can have very little confidence (if any) that the our country will be "great again" when it comes to standing for Christian values and morals. What we can have confidence in is that Jesus is coming again to set all things right in the world. Until that time comes, we are called to love God and love others in every way we possibly can, including in politics.
I want to finish my blog by quoting one of my favorite authors and pastors that I truly respect, Kevin DeYoung. Really what he says sums up everything I have written:
"I love my country and care about who wins and loses. Elections have consequences. Yet I’m much more interested in the church—my church and the Church. Our fidelity to biblical truth, our personal holiness, our sincerity, our consistency, our ability to speak with grace and truth, our unwillingness to confuse the kingdom of this world with the kingdom of Christ, our realism in the midst of Utopian promises, our hope in the midst of fear and loathing, our winsome witness to the gospel—to embody these realities week after week is more important than what happens on the second Tuesday in November."