The campaign season for the office of POTUS has officially begun and most people have a strong opinion concerning the candidates. That is wh I feel this is an opportune time to remind Christians that our hope is found nowhere near the 2016 Presidential election of the United States! Instead, our hope is found in the one King who already has all of the power in heaven and on earth and who has commanded his followers (Christians) to further his Kingdom by making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). Regardless which candidate is elected to POTUS in 2016, I can assure you of one thing: The United States of America is on a path to its end – as is every other nation that exists. In fact, we know that only one Kingdom will last forever, which is why I contend that we should be spending our lives fully invested into the growth and betterment of that Kingdom and in total obedience to our King’s command to make disciples of all nations.
Although I remain intrigued by Presidential politics, I can’t help but notice that conversations surrounding the election are almost always charged with negativity toward some else’s political views, or beliefs. Christian, consider your typical approach to communicating your reasons for supporting your chosen candidate for the upcoming election. Are you able to simply speak positively about your chosen candidate’s historical and present stances on the issues about which you care the most, or do you find yourself primarily attacking the stances of the opposing party, or candidate? Given the current campaigning cycle, I feel certain that the majority of your answers would be the latter. Consider the implications of that approach. First, consider what that says about your chosen candidate: It doesn’t communicate any positive reasons that someone should change his mind in favor of your candidate. Secondly, and more importantly, it makes the tone of your conversation offensive to the people on the other side of the political spectrum, who find themselves listening to you speak – or reading your posts on social media. So why does this matter? It matters because many of the people whom you are offending on the basis of political preferences are not following Jesus, which means that they are undoubtedly included in the group of people of which Jesus commanded that you make disciples and “teach them to obey everything that he has commanded” (Matthew 28:20).
The reason I have been reminded of this during this POTUS campaign cycle is because I realize how regularly I used to risk offending and alienating people of different political viewpoints by so adamantly attacking their political viewpoints that differed from my own. This is unacceptable. If my hope is truly in the eternal Kingdom in which I profess my allegiance, then alienating any unbeliever by means of attacking their particular preferences concerning American politics is certainly out of line with my King’s stated goals for my life. I’m not at all claiming that I do not believe that certain evils within our society are not worth discussing and opposing, but I do believe that they must be discussed and opposed in the proper ways – ways that draw people to Jesus, instead of ways that only seek to attack political leanings.
My goal in writing this is to encourage you, Christian, to tone down your rhetoric and practice self-control during this POTUS campaign cycle. Remind yourself that neither candidate’s policies will fix the majority of problems within our society, since American society’s problems do not stem primarily from policy. Instead, the problems within our society stem from sinful hearts in rebellion against their Creator. The only true remedy for such a societal condition is the thorough spreading of the Gospel throughout our culture in conjunction with continual prayer that God would use it to bring salvation to those who hear it. If we know this to be true, then it should be obvious to us that people who hold political viewpoints contrary to God’s character and biblical teachings will most likely only change their political leanings after God gives them a new heart – not after you provide a strong, persistent, and abrasive argument. So why worry with arguing politics and public policies so staunchly with unbelievers whose politics align so closely with their rebellious hearts? Instead, we should focus on sharing the Gospel and shedding light on the condition of their hearts, which undoubtedly influences their politics, as we point them to the Ultimate Healer.
My argument is not to say that politics and policies do not matter and should not be discussed. However, every four years it seems that Christians are more concerned with convincing others to vote for a particular POTUS candidate than they are with pleading with unbelievers to believe in Jesus. I am totally in favor of having well thought out political discussions, but not in the abrasive ways that I hear in some discussions and often read on social media. Consider the fact that many people whom you encounter every day have never believed in Jesus as their God and Savior and ask yourself if you have ever been as adamant and unrelentning in your efforts of bringing them to that eternity altering belief, as you are in convincing people that they should, or should not, vote for a particular candidate for a four year political term. It is easy to get distracted by the doomsday predictions that surround every election, but remember that God is sovereign over the election, so whoever is elected will ultimately be put in office by God to accomplish his purposes. Since we know that to be true, let’s keep our primary focus on the things that are of utmost eternal significance (i.e. the salvation of unbelievers) during this election cycle, instead of becoming distracted by the temporary gimmicks of the enemy!