Unsettling times give opportunity for Christ-followers to ask: What should my biblical response be?
Are you uneasy about the recent election, political season, and the dreadful assault on our nation’s capitol building? How much are media and conversations influencing your response to these days? What is your biblical basis for political opinion, speech, reaction, and action (or inaction)?
Nicholas Batzig writes, “Like many other Christians, I am deeply concerned about the direction in which our country has been moving and the speed at which it continues to move.” He then lists many areas of moral decline, abuses and offenses against different groups, the rise of religious intolerance, and the temptation to find political solutions. He asks, “When fears or concerns rise up in our minds and hearts, what does God call us to do?”
Good news! The Scriptures are not politically silent and help us avoid the temptations of biblical incorrectness. Here is Politics 101.
1. We are tempted to trust in people, organizations, and government instead of God. Consider Psalm 46, “Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is not help…Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God…who keeps truth forever, who executes justice for the oppressed…” (cf. Psalm 124)
J.C. Ryle wrote, “The best of men are only men at the very best. Patriarchs, prophets, and apostles—martyrs, fathers, reformers, puritians—all are sinners, who need a Savior: holy, useful, honorable in their places—but sinners after all.”
When Jesus’ questioner seemed to be asking about money, Jesus went deeper and said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
2. We are tempted to primarily pursue political solutions instead of spiritual ones. Scripture hits us between the eyes. Hear 1 Timothy 2: “First of all, I urge…prayers…for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way…[God] desires all people [Politicians?!] to be saved.” Ouch. Praying in public services and privately can change our conversations, calm our rage, and move toward righteous action that pleases the Lord.
3. We are tempted to not love our enemies. Embraced, the gospel—good news—of forgiveness from our sins changes and empowers us to live joyfully—but radically different. We are light and salt. Among the most difficult of our calls is to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-47). This common grace by God that respectfully pursues goodwill for everyone shows itself in the way we approach and speak and act toward those with opposite views. The other political party is our mission field to serve
Decades ago, I walked in on a rousing and negative conversation among Christians that went from a particular candidate to his political party. After a few minutes I raised my voice and asked, “Would a ______ be welcome here?”
These are starting points. What Bible texts keep you Christ-honoring and trusting in this turbulent political season?