I am a Christian. If you read this blog, then you already know that. And I am the type of Christian who strives to do everything according to my beliefs, including the political stuff. I feel that our beliefs should dictate our behavior in politics just as much as they should in every other area of our lives.
The problem is that people make the mistake of assuming this means I will cheer for the home team. But when I don’t celebrate the conservative victories, the conservatives falsely assume I am a liberal. The truth is that I have been making a more concerted effort to stay away from either side. I am not a liberal nor a conservative, and anyone who knows me knows better than to ever call me a moderate about anything.
Yes, I am aware that there are passages in the Bible to which some people have contrived political meaning. There is the passage in Revelations about being lukewarm (Rev 3:16). Then there’s the time when Jesus said you are against Him if you are not with Him (Luke 11:23). But to apply these scriptures to politics is to miss Jesus’ point entirely.
I do not believe there is anything in the Bible that says we should ever become political activists. Yes, we should take voting very seriously. Yes, we should vote according to our Christian beliefs. That is the right thing to do. However, I have never read anything from the Bible that suggests we should invest any effort into changing the way others vote (which is the biggest part of what activism is).
When Jesus told us that we are either with Him or against Him, he was not talking about political parties. He was talking about the way we live our lives. If we are “with Him”, we are living according to His commandments, and He specifically said that the greatest of all commandments was to love God and love our neighbors (Matthew 22:36-40).
The lukewarm to be spewed will be those who claimed to love Him but didn’t love Him enough to follow his commandment to love others. To insist that someone is lukewarm simply because he isn’t politically active is a misinterpretation of the scriptures. I do not need to choose sides between liberal and conservative, Democrat or Republican. Instead, I am to choose between Jesus and Satan, and Jesus does not practice party politics.
NOTE: If you disagree, please leave a comment giving an example from the Bible of Jesus recommending one “party” over another during His day. Or maybe examples from Paul, or Peter? To my knowledge they didn’t mix in politics.
The Power of God’s Love
That said, I believe that God’s love is far, far more powerful than any political movement. I believe that God is sovereign. He is all powerful. He can work wonders through His love that make no sense to us.
The idea that God needs more people on His political team so that He can squeeze a bill through congress just doesn’t gel with what the Bible says about His power.
Because I believe God reigns, I do NOT believe that any political party can threaten His righteous power. Conversely, I do not believe that any political party can boost His power. He doesn’t need our political victories. He does not require our political success. He is not in the business of nation building, but rather, kingdom building.
I believe that when we act out of love towards God and towards our fellow neighbors, we do infinitely more good for our nation than any work of political activism. Political activism is an evil act. Political activism is divisive, but love brings us all together to a common cause…for a common good.
That’s why it breaks my heart to see Christians become political activists. They have been conned into thinking that they fight for a good cause, but that fight has distracted them away from living a life of love. They think they are doing it for Christ, and for their faith. But evil actions do not produce righteous results.
In reality, even the smallest acts of love are more powerful than the greatest political movements. I believe that one person’s love can shape nations. Just one person practicing love as described in 1 Corinthians 13 can be more powerful in our world, even politically, than an entire political movement driven by hatred.
(And I believe that political activism is a form of hatred…actually…some would even call it witchcraft, depending on your definition of witchcraft. If you believe that manipulation is witchcraft, then political activism is most certainly a form of witchcraft.)
Who Is the Enemy?
In Ephesians 6:12, the Bible tells us that the powers of this dark world are our enemy. I believe political stuff falls into the “powers of this dark world” category. It says that the people are not our enemies. It is the political entities that oppose Christ. All political entities. Not the people within them, but the entities in and of themselves. That is my understanding of that verse.
Obama is not the enemy. Clinton is not the enemy. For those Christians who are more left leaning, Bush and Cheney are not the enemy. The enemy is the political machine itself.
How We Fight
The Bible gives us very specific instructions on how we are supposed to be less lukewarm and fight on Jesus’ side. It says stuff like “pay your taxes” and “submit to those who are in authority over you”. The Bible instructs us to pray for our leaders. We are told to pray for our enemies (including political enemies I assume). We are to love those who hate us.
And yes, I will stand in solidarity with anyone who chooses to live this way. I will not, however, stand in solidarity with any particular political party just because they give lip service to Christian beliefs.
And that is where I have been criticized. I do not celebrate political victories that seem on the surface to be in favor of the Christian “cause”. I do not mourn the political losses that appear on the surface to harm the Christian culture.
Those things have nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. When we allow ourselves to become distracted by the comings and goings of earthly powers, we tend to remove ourselves from the Kingdom. What profits the Kingdom of God is not the same as what profits the kingdoms of men. What profits the kingdoms of men does not profit the Kingdom of God. They are two completely separate entities.
1 John 4:5
They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
So we fight those powers by removing ourselves from their realm and living, instead, in God’s will. And we fight this battle daily. With every choice in every day of our lives, we choose righteousness or sin. None of us gets it right every single time. I certainly don’t. But the war continues no matter how many battles we have lost along the way.
Needing to Belong?
I do understand that there is a drive to be more politically active in order to feel like you belong. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right? It seems to me that there are a lot of Christians who feel a need to demonstrate their love for the Church by expressing their hatred for those who oppose the church.
My hope is that you will see why I cannot hate our opponents that way. It’s not Christian behavior. The very act of hating those who would destroy Christianity (as if they ever had the power to do so) is actually accomplishing more for them than it is for us. When Christians hate other people, then and only then is our cause a lost one. Ironically, our own hatred becomes our worst enemy. If it was left only to us, the whole of Christianity would be doomed.
1 John 4:20
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
But we are not fighting this battle alone. We are not doomed. When we choose love over hatred, we have access to God’s strength and power and no longer need to operate in our own. We all make mistakes. None of us is righteous, according to the Bible (Romans 3:10). So I do not share these things as someone who has it all worked out and looking down on the rest of you. No not at all.
I am writing these things because I want you to know, as a man who strives to walk the Christian walk, why I don’t “take sides” in the politics of our time.
I am not suggesting that I am perfect. Nor am I suggesting that anyone else is doing it wrong. This is just my explanation of why I will not “stand in solidarity” with you against any political group.
I have made my share of mistakes. I am flawed. I have not always submitted to authorities when I should have. I have not always loved others as I should have. I do not pray for our nation’s leadership nearly as often as I should. In that way, I have a long, long way to go yet.
But through His grace, walking in His strength and leaning on His Word, I have chosen to fight for genuine righteousness the way that Christ instructed us to do, not through political victories, but by loving one soul at a time. It is my desire to love every person God places in my life. I want to love them through His strength, not my own.
No, I am not a “Christian conservative“. I used to identify myself that way. I will not lie. But I have since had a political baptism of sorts. I killed the flesh part of me that took pleasure in that stuff (Matthew 18:9) and made room for the Holy Spirit to operate in my life instead.
And that’s what you need to know if you think I oppose you politically. Just because I will not stand with you in that way, do not assume I stand for the other side. I stand for Christ and Christ stands for all the people of the world (John 3:16).