This article was originally published in St. Mark’s Messenger, November, 2020 edition.
We’re in the middle of a very contentious election. We’re also in the midst of a global pandemic.
I’ve seen Christians from all over the country fighting about how everyone should vote “if you’re a real Christian!” “If you’re a believer, I don’t know how you could vote for x knowing that he supports y!” “If you call yourself a Christian, you have to support n because of issue o!”
“Well, if you’re a real Christian, you wouldn’t wear a mask because that shows fear, and we’re not supposed to fear.” “Well, if you’re NOT wearing a mask, you’re not protecting others from your potential infection, which violates Jesus’ command to love your neighbor.”
We’ve been very busy sticking out our verbal tongues at each other. As we sling accusations at each other, I’d like to ask you a question. Who do you think is pleased by our behavior? Who do you think is happy with the verbal and online interactions we’ve engaged as the Body of Christ? I’m sure there are many correct answers to that question. It’s the spiritual answer I’m seeking, though.
Given the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of God’s enemy (Satan), which kingdom gains by us slinging hash at each other? Which kingdom wins when I’m so eaten up with anger that I spew venom back at the one who spewed venom on me?
I can assure you of one thing: Jesus is not pleased by our interactions. And God’s Kingdom does not gain when his people place their hands on each other’s throats.
None of these arguments sway a single opinion, either. No one has ever changed their vote by being called a baby killer, or a fraud, or any other name. No one has ever developed compassion for humanity by being told they’re stupid, scared, or uneducated. No one. Ever. The strong opinions of one person usually respond to the strong opinions of another person with a big fat “So what?!?!” They don’t care about your opinion when it’s spoken in anger or littered with namecalling.
Far more important question: Can any of you name one soul who was won to Christ through a political argument? I think I can guess the answer, and so can you.
Shortly after this newsletter is published, the election will be over. I would predict the presidential election won’t be over on Election Night regardless of who is declared the winner. So the angry words won’t stop.
As believers in Christ, let me encourage you to listen to the voice of Scripture instead of the talking heads shuffled out to convince us of their opinions: 12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 [NASB]
When we lose control of our speech and deny the inalienable value of another human being, Satan wins. To use the language of these arguments, “That should settle this for a real believer.” Treat other people the same way you want them to treat you.
If you think they’re uninformed dolts, treat them the way you’d want someone to treat when you’re an uninformed dolt. If you think they’re evil-minded, treat them the way you’d want someone to treat you when they think you’re evil-minded. If you think they’re blind to a particular issue (or set of issues), how would you like them to treat your blindness in other issues? And be honest in your assessment. I feel sure you wouldn’t want to be called names or told you’re stupid, so don’t permit that leeway in your responses to others.
None of these politicians will save us, anyway. There is no savior on any ballot anywhere in the world. So, it’s not worth giving Satan a foothold in your life and others’ lives.
Jesus spoke strongly to the Pharisees and Jewish rulers. But he never spoke without loving them. He never failed to want their salvation as a first priority. So, the next post you see, or comment you hear, that makes your blood pressure rise … pause a second before responding and consider, “How would Jesus engage this person?” Then, wait until you have a clear answer before you respond.
Let’s stop working for Satan’s kingdom, and start acting like God’s Children, going about our Father’s business. Research. Study. Vote. Advocate. But in all of that … LOVE!