Every election season brings a certain degree of anxiety or uneasiness. It’s a big change when one leader steps down and another takes his or her place. The national elections of 2016 are bringing out, what seems to me, to be a greater level of anxiety and even anger than most election cycles. Social media is a reflection of that. Try expressing an opinion on social media without someone slamming you.
Today, Christians are faced with some tough choices, and I don’t just mean which candidate to vote for. How do we handle the high level of animosity and tension that is so prevalent in our nation today? How do we live out the lifestyle of Jesus in our politically charged season?
I’m seeing a number of choices being made. Some develop a posture of being above it all. “Jesus is my King and I’m not lowering myself into the fray.”
There’s another extreme that is also very prevalent. It happens when Christians forget that the advance of the Kingdom of Christ is not dependent upon who the president of the United States is. Ignoring that can cause us to become combative, angry, and over-emphasize the importance of this or any election. In this
May I suggest a broad middle ground that allows for many degrees of involvement or non-involvement? It recognizes that that in our nation we have been given
The Apostle Paul commands us in I Timothy 2, to pray for those in authority so that we might live quiet and peaceful lives. He sums up that thought in verse 4, relating it to God’s desire for everyone to be saved. Paul really was interested in who government leaders were, but not so he could have a nice, comfortable life, but so that the atmosphere of the nation would be conducive to evangelism. It seems to me that Paul demonstrates a beautiful balance for us regarding our involvement in selecting leadership and voting.
Of course, Paul could not even imagine the option of selecting his own governmental leaders. But as I hear his command to pray for those leaders in order to prepare the way for evangelism, I have no doubt that Paul today would add to his command to pray, the command to vote. Pray and vote, so that the purposes of God might be accomplished.
So in the midst of a divisive, tense, and angry time, how should we live in this political world? Again, I look to Paul for instruction. To the Philippians, and to us, Paul gives a most contemporary instruction: “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil. 4:5-6).
What a contrast this is to what is currently taking place! Gentleness . . . peace . . . prayer! That’s how we approach an election season. And I believe Paul even shows us how to do that. In the midst of his
With Jesus right next to you . . . near . . . you can live out his gentleness, his peace, and you will find yourself praying not only for your