Over the last three weeks, I’ve taken a look at a few different New Year’s Resolutions for Christians in 2018. I’ve covered reading the Bible (and doing what it says), prioritizing church, and praying. Today, I want to cover something that is a little more sensitive to many people. It’s time for Christians to change the way we get involved in politics.
Remember that politicians are people
It’s fine to trust in people. In fact, it’s necessary to have a measure of trust in some people in order to have a healthy life. But there is a level of trust that should only be reserved for God. When we have a “God-only” faith in our politicians, we have created a huge problem. When we put politicians on pedestals, they’ll fall off. The real problem is that when they fall off, if we’ve put this level of faith in them, we will be deeply unable to admit their shortcomings. We’ll be blinded to the fact that they are unfit to lead. Elect officials that deserve trust…and then trust them. Pray for them. Support them. But also hold them accountable when they are unfit to lead. Don’t put a level of faith in a person that you should have in God.
Change the way you talk
Politics have a way of bringing out the worst in people. But here’s what the Bible says in Ephesians 4:29: “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Insults are not helpful. Civil discourse is helpful. Derision, divisiveness, slander, gossip, and verbal assaults are not helpful. Memes and hurtful names describing others are not helpful. Speaking to each other in love, in encouragement, and with respect is helpful. Here’s the bottom line: If you insult someone, they are highly unlikely to ever listen to you about Christ. You may be the only person that gets the opportunity to share the good news of Christ with them. So, before you post that funny picture, joke, or demeaning name, think to yourself: Is this worth it? Is the quick laugh I’ll get from insulting people worth losing the opportunity to tell them about Christ? Is their chance at eternal life and a life fulfilled by Christ worth the joke?
Politics can’t fix sin
We need to change how we expect people to change. It seems that we have forgotten who changes people. We cannot use politics to make our country a “Christian” nation. We cannot legislate people into believing in Christ. We cannot legislate people out of sin. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t have laws barring things that are wrong. Murder is wrong…and murder is sin. We should have laws that are against murder. But even having laws against murder does not stop sin. Christ alone can forgive sin and begin the healing process. When we expect politics and politicians to “fix” sin, we absolve ourselves of responsibility. We take away our duty of sharing Christ and being salt and light in the world, and we lay it at the feet of the government. We work harder at stopping same-sex marriage than we work at building relationships with homosexuals. We spend more time trying to promote anti-abortion laws than we do building relationships with young mothers that feel they have no other choice. We should be involved in politics, but people should always come first. When we expect politicians to do the job that Christ has given us, we begin to treat symptoms instead of advancing the cure…the Gospel of Jesus Christ.