Nope. I am not going to break down the political candidates, give my recommendation or tell you if God prefers us to be Republicans or Democrats or neither (because he doesn’t have a preference). That’s just not in the scope of what TrueNorth Ministries does. However, I’ve had some experiences, both positive and negative, over the past year as a Christian who is paying much closer attention to politics. With 2016 being an election year, how does God want us to act when it comes to political races?
Be a Christian First and Republican/Democrat/Libertarian Second
…or third or fourth or wherever. As long as politics are behind your faith in the priority line. Andy Stanley drives this home in a recent message he delivered, “Avoiding Election Infection“. I could save myself some time, post his sermon and call it good. Here’s the thing. Ted Cruz isn’t going to revert our nation back to Christian values. Bernie Sanders isn’t going to get rid of greed in our nation. Don’t put your faith in a candidate, who you (probably) don’t know personally.
I’ve felt more strongly this year about being educated on the candidates, including where they stand on particular issues, their character, and if they follow God. Nobody goes to Washington D.C. when they die, so let’s not act like whoever runs it has the power to restore true hope for people.
Don’t Let Politics Cause Division
Have you scrolled through Facebook and seen someone you know post something political so far from what you believe is best for people and found yourself saying, “How in the world could they possibly think this is a good idea?!?!?!” [raises hand] Hopefully you were slow to
speak type a snarky response.
Here’s some feedback: You most likely aren’t persuading anyone on social media. People don’t get on social media with an open mind saying “Hmmm…I wonder if someone with opposing views has anything to say that will make me question my stance.” Don’t get me wrong. You can have some influence on social media, but are you arguing with people or are you arguing a point?
There’s a difference. As Andy said in his message, you cannot argue to the point that you lose influence. It’s not worth it for you to aggressively make your stand on capitalism vs. socialism to the extent you push your opposition so far away they want nothing to do with you or your faith. We are called to create disciples to be part of the same mission we are.
The danger of diving into politics is that you can lose track of how God is truly calling you to live. Does he want you debating with your neighbor about healthcare? Or does he want you to engage in purposeful conversation about how we, as people, can make an impact in the world? You are undoubtedly going to disagree with someone about what’s best for people, but we all agree that what’s best for people is best.
Identify the True Enemy and Fight Him
Satan loves using politics to distract us. If Satan was a golfer, he’d be carrying his bag around with his various methods of destruction. His go to club is money, just like 1 Timothy 6:10 says. However, I’d assume politics is the one reliable club he doesn’t use all the time, but it’s the perfect selection for when the time is right. That time is election season.
We can simplify this concept to every decision we make if we train ourselves to think this way. When you’re tempted or feel like you’re on the verge of crossing a line, ask yourself, “Do I want to choose God or Satan?” The answer is obviously (hopefully). However you can’t address the questions properly if you’re unable to identify the enemy when he’s at work.
Satan only comes to steal, kill and destroy. He doesn’t care how he does it. Can you look at the GOP Primary Race right now and honestly say, “God is really shining through in this election process.” Heck no. It’s an absolute mess. Satan just stirs things up a bit and then sits back to enjoy the chaos.
I don’t see Christ winning in this presidential race, and I’m not referring to the election. I see Him saddened by everyone who gets pulled away from focusing on Him so they can push a candidate to save the country. I believe in being a responsible, voting citizen, but I also believe Satan wants us to put more of our energy into our country than into our spiritual mission.
See political discussions an opportunity to connect with people. Disagree with their views? Listen. Ask questions. Learn something. Respect their right to believe in something else. Our mission isn’t to change behavior. Our mission isn’t to change the way people vote (I need this reminder often). Our mission is to spread the Gospel and put our hope in God to bring people into His kingdom.
My Prayer for You: Don’t vote for Trump. (I kid, I kid). I pray political discussions you jump into are fruitful for God’s purposes. Put his agenda at the forefront of your conversations as He has the power to work through anything if we make Him the priority.