Politics. Bleh. That very word brings such disdain right now. In case you are reading this and missed it, or maybe this is way past this time and years away in the future (if so I am hopeful it is better than now), but we are in the midst of the 2016 Presidential Elections, and it has been one for the record books.
I cannot adequately summarize the way this election has gone other than to say it has been one filled with anger, deceit, name calling, questioning of one's moral compass, and deep divides within friendships and families. And to think that is just within the church.
"Oh no," we cry out in protest. "It isn't us, it is the candidates who throw out all that verbal hate speech." Is it though? I abhor this time of year because of what it does to the body of Christ. I feel that during this time of year people become brazen, foolish, outspoken critics of one another with little fact or basis for what they do.
Never once do you see Christ champion for a political candidate throughout the entirety of Scripture. Of course Jesus and the Apostles argue for following our government and paying taxes, but never do you see Jesus hitting the streets proclaiming Caesar as the correct leader. Never do you hear Him champion for taxing the rich and giving it to the poor. Never do you hear Him advocate for either small, large, or no government. He simply says "give to Caesar what is Caesar's" and challenges us to think of things eternal.
Our red--and blue--flags go up and we huff and puff because we point to statements Christ made, people He cared for, His calls for social reform and we proclaim loudly, "See! There, that is why I vote..." you fill in the blank. But let me ask you something: Are you simply trying to shape Jesus to fit your political beliefs and ideologies, or are you allowing Jesus to formulate your political beliefs.
I would assert that all too often we fall prey to the former. Whether it be from parental influence, socio-economic status, the state we live in, a disillusionment with a political franchise that has distanced itself from its original stances, we allow our own self-righteousness and desires to shape how we view Christ in order to use that as our platform for change.
How dare we?! How dare we try to contextualize the King of the universe into so small of a box. To truly try to declare God to be a republican, a democrat, an anarchist, a green party member is to say, "God here is where I have contextualized You to be. Step into my confines and fit my mold." My how arrogant we have become.
I would dare to assert that our God, the Creator and the Alpha and Omega, is far greater than any political establishment, and we as Christians have a moral obligation not to any party but to glorify God Himself and proclaim Him crucified, dead, and alive. To proclaim He and He alone will save our country, our world, through His shed blood because no politician, no broken promises, no audio tapes or emails will ever bring salvation, it is only the Son of God who died in our place who will bring social justice, restitution, and healing to a hurt and broken world.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that He cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end." I believe the reason we are so frustrated with this election and its candidates is because we are crafted for so much more than a career politician or television star. We are designed to long for eternity. We are formed to long for something past the temporary.
The disillusionment after November will come no matter which party succeeds. Whichever wins the race the other side will protest, and a few years later even the candidate's party will protest certain policies because we are never satisfied with the temporary. We always want more. We have an innate longing for the eternal. We have a desire to see God come and rid this world of its immoralities and failures. To see a kingdom where Hispanics and Caucasians live together without a wall. To see a kingdom where black and white are no longer racial divides but instead a declaration of the craftsmanship and beauty of the Creator. To see a kingdom where sin no longer causes divides and rifts in denominations but instead is wiped clean by the precious blood of the Lamb.
Brothers and Sisters let me implore you to not vote for a party this election. Do not vote simply because you believe in a political scheme. I encourage you to vote out of what will glorify God the most. I cannot tell you who to vote for, but I can ask you to saturate this election in prayer. To call for unity not divide. To treat others as your brothers and sisters not the enemy.
Neither candidate is perfect by far. There is a misogynistic reality star on one end and a habitual liar and cheat on the other. Both are so far removed from the Christian perspective that neither stands for Christ in my opinion. This is not a call to choose the lesser of two evils, because to do so would still allow for evil to win. In this case I do not know who to vote for. In many ways I am considering a third party candidate which many say is a vote against my past political party. But is it entirely wrong to say I am considering writing in the name Jesus Christ as my candidate?
This world is not my home, and praise God for that. This political circus will not define me, my beliefs, or my desire to proclaim Christ. In fact it has created a desire to distance myself from politics and instead seek to see God change hearts that will then change this country. My prayer today is that we unite and build the Body of Christ not our political parties. Keep God in the pulpit, politics out of it, and let us hope Christ returns soon.