I want to start off and say I don't have all the answers to this conversation, nor am I trying to convince you to believe in one political party to another. But I do believe that this needs to be addressed in today's world and within the Church. Many of us as Christians feel like political nomads. We don't know who to vote for, who to support, and how to handle conversations in this realm well. No matter where you stand in this, I think we can all grow in how to lead our communities in this discussion.
Today, I want us to look at JESUS, and Jesus alone. I think there are a lot of voices, and a lot of opinions. But for us to be the healthiest Christian we can be, Jesus is our only hope.
Let's dive in.
1) JESUS ENGAGED & LOVED ALL SIDES OF POLITICAL GROUPS - He was above social systems
Jesus was the master at connecting to ALL different groups with all different sides and perspectives. Jesus' kingdom perspective allowed him to weave in and out, loving everyone everywhere he went. If you don't believe me, here is a quick list of known people within a social cast or system that engaged with Jesus.
The Samaritan Woman (Samaritans were HATED by the Jews)
Simon the Zealot (Zealots were government rebels)
Roman Centurion (Romans enslaved the Jews, and treated them horribly)
Social Outcasts (The lowest of the cast system, Lepers, Prostitutes, etc.)
Jewish Pharisees + Sadducees (Religious leaders holding social power)
One of the more interesting stories in the Bible regarding this discussion is Mark 3:18.
18 and Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot;
Simon the Zealot.
Simon the Zealot was a part of a political group that was in rebellion to the government. Now how could someone like Jesus, have a ZEALOT in his disciple group? How could someone who hated the current government, be in Jesus' close circle? How could Matthew, a tax collector, who essentially committed treason to his own people, be on Jesus' team?
"Because Jesus saw the world bigger than the current social systems."
They weren't his enemy. He didn't bash them in the community square. He didn't just stick with people like Peter or John, who were like him culturally. Jesus loved them ALL.
Jesus never allowed the social system to be his north compass of belief, though so many of them did.
Even the Pharisees, who were the religious leaders of their time, were caught in the social construct of their culture. Many times Jesus would be loving someone, and they would ask
"How is this man spending time with THOSE people?"
2)POLITICAL PARTIES ARE MAN-MADE
Politics always move with the people. The irony of politics is the values that each party hold are not based on anything but the opinions of the people. Politics move with the crowds and seek what the people want, not what God wants. The purpose of politics is an ever-changing game, unlike the kingdom of God.
In 1960, the democratic party was against abortion.
Now, they are for it and the leading advocate for pro-choice. Many times parties have switched on their beliefs based on the cultural influence of the current times.
The argument that we can seek or align our character and beliefs with politics is flawed because the source of guidance comes from the popularity of a belief, not from a universal source.
As the Bible has taught us, man's ways lead us down paths of wrongfulness. We cannot expect politics and political figures to be the guiding force behind what WE believe.
3)POLITICS HAVE A WAY TO DIVIDE US-JESUS HAD A WAY TO UNITE US
No matter what side you land on, or what you believe, you have to admit that there has been an OBVIOUS division within our society. In my opinion, we have OVER-politicized topics that should have never been in the first place.
Let me explain.
When COVID-19 first came into play, for the most part people were all on the same page. We all saw people run to the store for toilet paper, and there was chaos in our cities out of fear. As it went on, we began to formulate opinions around it based on our political assumptions. We didn't necessarily believe these based on doctors or facts, but based on how our parties have shaped our view of this country.
And by the way, this goes both ways.
I saw people who were conservative republicans, who refused the mask because of their belief in freedom. Some stuck so hard to that belief, that I don't know if you could do anything to convince them otherwise. On the flip side, I saw more liberal people wear masks in situations that didn't need or call for it, which in turn is a hyperbolic response to a belief.
We began to see each side as an enemy. If someone was wearing a mask in public, we would label them. And if someone was not, we would label them. Not based on fact, or doctors, or what health professionals were saying, but based on social groups and beliefs.
See what's funny about this way of thinking, is that Jesus had these same issues in his day. People looked a certain way, talked a certain way, and therefore would be judged. Most of Jesus' interactions with miracles dealt with the social aspect of his culture.
But he loved through it. He was not fazed by the cultural bias of the person he was working with, or even his own culture.
Jesus saw kingdom, and that was all he needed to see.
My question for you, is do you see others the same way?
If someone walked in with a TRUMP hat, would you love them? If someone walked in with an AOC shirt, would you treat them the same? Would you courageously still bring them in like your own friends? Or would you dismiss them because of their beliefs.
4)You can be a nomad - JeSUS WAS.
When it comes to a solution, I think this can be tricky. Don't hear that I am saying dismiss politics as a whole, because that would be foolish. What I am saying is if you truly call yourself a Jesus follower, you may be feel like a political nomad, and that's okay. Your perspectives may fall in both parties, and you may see yourself voting for either side in different times depending on the circumstances.
As believers, we must look at the world through the lense of the kingdom. The kingdom lense sees all sides of humankind, and is not always popular or liked. Believers should see all sides of people, beliefs, struggles, and perspectives. We love them though they may see the world very different than us. We listen to their stories, and hear why they chose their perspective.
We LOVE with courage. We LEAD with strength. We SERVE because Christ served. That's kingdom culture.