Faith Wins (Why Not To Be Too Political)

Today it's quite easy to plant a flag on one side or the other of the culture war in our great nation. You can get loads of likes and shares by throwing red meat to people who agree with any given position. But at what cost do we take sides?

By becoming apologists for politicians, political positions, or any given party...we can lose credibility when we appear to have lost objectivity. In a broken world there is no person who is without fault. The inability to recognize both successes and failures, upsides and downsides in ourselves and others, undermines our credibility.

This is a big problem for Christ followers, or those who claim to be. When we are more known for our political position than our spiritual passion we can blind people to the riches of grace and the hope of the gospel. When we appear to be unwavering apologists for a position/person/party without acknowledging any failings or downsides, we may win friends but we'll be ineffective in reaching the world – and being beautiful feet who carry the message of hope is our mission.

In the middle of the night some 2000 years ago, Jesus rebuked Peter for chopping off an ear of a militant who came to take Jesus away. Jesus actually insinuated that Satan motivated him, that's serious. Peter was justifiably angry at the injustice but timing is everything in God's economy. Jesus was actually perfect in his politics and yet he had a greater goal that was part of the bigger picture – sacrificing his life so the world could live like never before.

There is only one true giver of life. Only one who sets people free from the inside out. We can't vote for him but we can surrender to him. No matter how right we may feel or even be, we simply can't let our passion for the grace of Jesus to be clouded by our absence of honesty and objectivity. The righteous don't live by partisanship, anger, or rage..."the righteous live by faith" (Habakkuk 2:4).

Party, Politics, and Jesus

"One of these things is not like the others...one of these things just doesn't belong..."

After the dust of 2016 settles, we will certainly discover we're in the same place we've been since Cain killed Abel...selfish, angry, divided, fearful, and in need of help.

Party and politics are very much alike. They feed our common weaknesses and highlight our common flaws. More than dividing people politically, it often divides us emotionally – severing our ability to discuss what matters most. It has a blinding effect on our life – causing us to see nothing but the bad in others and the good in ourselves. But worse, the void (even for Christ followers) gets a whole lot larger because no system or person can satisfy the soul.

Let me confess: I've been twisted around the axel of party and politics in my past. I've won battles but lost people who could have been friends. I've declared "the sky is falling" only to discover the sun did come out again. I've seen "my guy" get in, only to watch him get carted off to prison. I've had suspicions confirmed and I've had convictions surprised. This is why I've decided to tackle all things political through the spiritual. I've finally learned that seats are changed by votes and hearts are changed by God – and changed hearts is what will change the world.

We ultimately must exercise our right to vote. Too much blood was spilled for this great freedom. Even run for office if God calls you to that battle. And when it comes to candidate selection, pull that lever with passion. But remember, you just voted for imperfection.

Don't take the bait. The more we hold high or try to tear down a party or a politician, the smaller we become. Even the best party platforms and elected candidates are deeply flawed. And don't allow your passion for/against party or politician exceed how much you champion our great savior.

When all the dust settles in our nation, we'll still be a ripe harvest field with truck loads of people who are hurting and hungry to hear a message of hope that can transform their lives from the inside out. Only God has a history of making promises and delivering on every one!

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." (John 3:17) Boom!

Aren't you glad Jesus is "not like the others"?