I guess I used to see politics as a way to better the world (mostly my world when I really think about it). “I should be involved to change things for the better,” I thought. My family was Republican, and vocal with their opinions, and everyone I had ever met in the church body was Republican, and vocal with their opinions as well.
I attended a church for a while where things of a political nature were discussed. The Pastor even told us how we, as Christians, should vote on certain issues and that the Republican nominee for President should always have our vote. As a Christian it was my “duty” to vote. So, for many years I fervently voted for and defended the Republican Party and their values no matter what, even when they didn’t line up with what Jesus taught and with the way of the Kingdom of God. I even twisted scripture at times to plead the Republican’s case, just as the Pastors of old did with the indigenous, slavery and civil rights.
During the Obama/McCain Presidential Election I had a long time, non-Christian friend call me out on some things I was posting on social media that were not nice. The posts were mocking the other side. Some were down right rude. It got me thinking that as a follower of Christ’s way, anything I did that would turn others away from Him wasn’t worth it. I stopped posting and started researching what it looked like for a Christian to be involved with politics.
I’ll be honest and say that it took me many years to completely let politics go. Mostly because of the teaching I had received from respected Christians, and feelings of guilt as an American. The conclusions I eventually came to are:
The ways of the world – the ways of government – are not the Ways of the Lord. The lesser of two evils is still evil and the Lord’s way involves no evil. I realized government does not follow the teachings of Jesus (read the sermon on the mount here). I saw that Christians were trusting in ways of government, and not in the ways of the Lord. Some became nasty and judgmental in the process. They became forceful, while there is freedom found in Christ. Some even became hateful. I realized that laws do not change people’s hearts – only Jesus and the Gospel does. I realized the Bible shows us that Jesus and the first followers of His teachings had nothing to do with government; they understood it conflicted with Jesus’ New Kingdom and they could not serve two masters. I realized my allegiance cannot be split; I am a citizen of God’s Kingdom, a Christian before an American.
So what happened when I finally took the plunge and gave up on politics?
- I felt like a weight had been lifted off me and a freedom had been found.
- I was less angry.
- I stopped getting in arguments with people I knew, and people I didn’t know.
- I became less judgmental.
- I became less legalistic.
- I began to hear the “other side” and sympathize with more people who are not like me.
- I stopped worrying about how other people were living their lives and focused on mine more.
- I was able to love all people better – it wasn’t me vs. them any longer.
- I wasn’t so worried about my future.
- I wasn’t so worried, period.
- I was trusting and relying on God and His way more.
- I became more focused on Kingdom driven things.
- I started to better the world more through the Gospel.
I’d say all of those are pretty good things, wouldn’t you?
You have shown me the path to Life. Psalm 16:11