The political season seems to bring out the worst in some people. With midterm elections around the corner, I have seen snarky, rude and arrogant social media posts from both sides of the aisle.
Sadly, many Christians get caught up in this. To read their Facebook and Twitter pages, you would think their political opinion is Holy Writ, sacred and inviolable, and anyone who disagrees with them is either stupid or dangerous. I am astounded by how many believers elevate partisanship above the agenda of the humble carpenter from Nazareth.
Is not the business of Jesus more important than the machinations of Caesar? No nation will ever be the Kingdom of God, your party is not the church, political sound bites cannot match the power of the Gospel and, believe it or not, Jesus is neither Democrat nor Republican. We have turned the King of kings and Lord of lords into a palatable mouthpiece of our own party positions. For some, He’s a safe, law-abiding citizen who would never challenge the status quo; for others, He’s a rabble-rouser who itches to overthrow the system. Both views are ridiculously overdrawn.
Read your Bibles. Jesus didn’t seem particularly interested in earthly politics. He refused to be made a king, did not agitate against Rome, and would not get trapped in political debates with the Pharisees. Before Pilate He pointedly said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). The early church followed the lead of their Master, teaching submission to governmental authorities, but largely avoiding politics because they believed they had bigger fish to fry. They had been commissioned to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
I certainly believe Christians can be involved in politics, but we dare not put all our eggs in the political basket. Our representatives will eventually “misspeak,” or break a promise they made on the campaign trail, or vote on an issue we don’t like. Politics is a dirty game, and politicians love to “divide and conquer.” Christians have a higher calling: to serve and reconcile.
Through the rise and fall of political empires, Jesus reigns supreme. His Great Commandment to love God and neighbor (yes, even those who disagree with us) will still be in effect. As believers, we must continue to be the church no matter who is in office, which is our highest calling and responsibility.