Confession: I do not particularly love writing or reading about politics. My heart gets all thumpity and afraid that I will hurt feelings or offend someone or make myself look ignorant or start a comment battle or…..the list goes on and on…
But I am going to be brave and blog about it. I will say– this post was written for Christians. So if you are not one you will probably hate every word I say with a fiery passion. So spare yourself and stop reading now. You’ll just be angry with me, and that serves no purpose.
If any of you reading this are like me, you respond to politics one of two ways depending on your mood at a given moment:
1. You shut out the voice of American politics immediately, having become jaded by the ugliness, falsity, and ever-increasing godlessness that currently prevails in the media and in the government. You remind yourself that God is in control and does not need your voice adding to the chorus of complaining, bitterness, and hate that currently fills social media and daily conversation.
2. You become incensed over one or more issues and are inspired to become a voice crying out in the wilderness against a world that wants no part of the Bible or Christian values. It is up to you to change American government, and if so-and-so is elected then the world as you know it will come to an end.
Depending on how I’m feeling, I usually set my mind on one of these two attitudes. Some days I tell myself, “It’s hopeless. There will never again be a servant of the Lord elected as president. You might as well give up praying, and trust God to humble America in whatever way He sees fit. Raise your family to the best of your ability and mind your own business.” But this perception of politics is a problem because God does not want us to stop praying or fighting for His Kingdom to come to earth. He does not want us to stay in our own Christian safety zone while ignoring the injustices that break His heart.
But the second attitude isn’t quite right either. There are moments when I get so excited about gains in the pro-life community and I think, “Finally! This company is getting de-funded, their evil has been exposed, we are making progress….” And then courts rule in their favor and I find myself devastated to the point of unholy anger directed at the wrong Person. I question, “Lord, there are so many babies dying every day. Can’t goodness win just once?” This attitude can lead to testing God, and becoming frustrated with Him when American society and government do not reflect our earnest prayers.
So how can we have a healthy outlook on politics, especially as the political scene is heating up and potential candidates are already fighting tooth and nail for the spotlight?
By having a godly, wise perspective that takes both God’s sovereignty and our own responsibility as His people into consideration. I do not have this mastered yet- I am either dead to the political scene or living in a state of hopeless, crazed fear as I cry out desperately for change. I think these skewed viewpoints can be boiled down to this: not praying enough or not trusting enough.
I heard a sermon on prayer once by pastor Tim Keller. He was explaining Psalm 4 I believe, and how two different types of prayer are visible in the passage. In the first verse, the psalmist writes,
“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!”
This is a desperate cry for the Lord to intervene. It’s a prayer of supplication, a humble man asking God to do a mighty work. But later in verse 8, the author says,
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
This is a prayer acknowledging that God is in complete control. The psalmist can sleep at night peacefully, trusting the Lord with all of his heart. Both of these prayers are good examples for us to follow as we kneel before God. Our hearts have to constantly be expecting God to work mightily in our nation and to install godly men in leadership positions, while at the very same time trusting Him to carry out His plan. Here’s a little secret: God’s plan can NEVER be thwarted. Ever. The Bible says, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21). Whew. Even reading that verse gives me peace.
That being said, it’s completely valid to be heartbroken over what is going on in the world today. In fact, it would be a tragedy if you felt no sadness at the materialism, broken family life, and sexual immorality that currently characterizes our once-beautiful nation. The prophets in the Old Testament tore their clothes, wept over their cities, and mourned.
Jeremiah, commonly referred to as the weeping prophet, writes:
“Oh that my head were waters,
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
that I might weep day and night
for the slain of the daughter of my people!
Oh that I had in the desert
a travelers’ lodging place,
that I might leave my people
and go away from them!
For they are all adulterers,
a company of treacherous men” (9:1-2).
He is crying about the moral decline of his society, saying that they are “adulterers” and “treacherous men.” Sound familiar? It is godly to be passionate for righteousness. It is godly to pray fervently that a follower of Jesus be elected as president. (Shoot, you better be praying that!) Because how can we be a living, breathing, loving city on a hill if our eyes are shut to the evil around us? We have to trust God and walk in obedience, praying that He uses us to bring justice. We have to keep speaking the Truth even when the rest of the world hates us. We have to go to sleep at night with peace in our hearts.
Even if the worst happens…and so-and-so is elected. Why? Because our God never fails.