I've mentioned before that I don't feel it is my responsibility to respond to every social issue that grips our nation and world. If I did, that's all I'd ever do. Just occasionally, there are things that grip us that I feel led to give some commentary to. So, I'm going to address the pink elephant in the room...and the pink donkey, too.
You'll never hear me preaching a political agenda. I am a firm advocate of the separation of church and state. I view the Kingdom of God quite differently than I do the kingdoms of earth. I try to keep my political opinions off Facebook and refrain from argumentative political conversations with people in my church. I do not endorse candidates or talk about who I voted for. As a minister of the Gospel, my only priority is bringing people to Jesus.
This election cycle has made me think: I wonder what the church would be like if we had as much enthusiasm and commitment to Christ as we do about our political parties. I'm disgusted at the ways I've seen Christians acting this election cycle...on both sides. Having said that, all I'm really interested in doing is bringing us back to Jesus.
Revelation 2:4-5, Jesus said these words: "You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen. Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, you could lose your witness to the world." We need to remember our first love is Jesus, not the princes and powers of the world.
Here's how we can tell if our allegiance to our politics is stronger than our allegiance to Christ:
1] If it leads you to hate your enemies, it is not from Christ.
2] If it leads you to slander and insult your enemies, it is not from Christ.
3] If it destroys your relationships, it is not from Christ.
4] If you have to edit or ignore the teachings of Jesus to fit your political ideology, it is not from Christ.
There is no doubt this election cycles has been toxic, and I believe America is worse off for it. There is a collective infection in our souls. It's time to detox, and the only way the believer sees to do it is to return to our first love, Jesus. So here are a few suggestions that can help us detox:
1] Repent. That's right, repent. We need to acknowledge our idolatry and actions which may counter Christ. Perhaps we've gotten too caught up in all the rhetoric.
2] Commit to following the Way of Jesus. How did Jesus navigate life in a hostile world? How did he treat his political, ideological, religious, and cultural enemies?
3] Be a good citizen. Don't break the laws of the land unless they are in blatant competition with God's laws. Romans 13 says, "Do what is good, and those in authority will praise you. As ministers of the Gospel, you should do good. Pay your taxes, respect those in authority, and honor your rulers." I said this same thing to a right-leaning church in Virginia when President Obama won a second term, and I say the same thing to you here in Washington. Go ahead, fact check me.
4] Turn off the television and love your neighbor. Jesus won't incite you to hatred and violence; the news cycle may. Can we just get on with what God has called us to?
Folks, if we're going to make a stand, let's make it on Jesus. Philippians 3:20 reminds us where our true citizenship is. Let's remember our first love. I don't want us to lose our witness because we've prostituted our faith before earthly princes.
Let's trust Christ.