For Christians Who Wish to be Politically Active
"Politics draws lines between people; in contrast, Jesus' love cuts across those lines and dispenses grace. That does not mean, of course, that Christians should not involve themselves in politics. It simply means that as we do so we must not let the rules of power displace the command to love." (Philip Yancey)
I want to be involved in the political process of our nation. I know there are some who think this is futile — some who even think this may be contrary to our faith. I disagree. I think much good can be done from such engagement.
However, I must always remember that my ultimate goal, my greatest desire, the thing that keeps me going when nothing else will, is to see God’s kingdom come and God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. I want there to be peace, and I want there to be justice. I want poverty to be eradicated, and I want the causes of poverty to be eliminated. I want babies to be born healthy and nurtured and educated well. I want evil to be punished, and I want good to be rewarded.
I want all of these things and more that I don’t have time or space to list here for you.
So, I’ll pursue these things personally, and I’ll involve myself in social/political engagement as well. I’ll encourage others to do likewise -- to vote their conscience, to volunteer and serve as they believe best, to work together when we can to make the world a better place.
But, as we do these things, it would behoove us to remember that pursuing God's kingdom in a way that runs contrary to what we know about the character and nature of Jesus undoes God's will for a person's life. Doing the work of Jesus in anything other than the Spirit of Jesus is counter-productive. Grabbing for power, demanding your own way, refusing to listen to others, believing the worst about people with whom we disagree, withholding forgiveness, twisting the words of others, name-calling, gossip, libel and slander, hateful speech of any kind -- these have no place in the life of one who claims to follow Jesus. Our ethic is love, and everything we do -- including the way we debate our political ideologies -- must be done in love. Speak truth, of course, but speak it in love or do not speak it at all.
So, to keep me from practicing politics in an un-Christlike manner, I've come up with three rules of engagement:
- I’ll avoid demonizing those with whom I disagree;
- I’ll entertain the possibility that I may be wrong from time to time;
- I’ll work with people to find common ground.
These rules are for me. I do not intend to bind them on anyone else. However, if you are a follower of Jesus, I challenge you to consider them. I believe by practicing these three rules we may be able to work together to form a more perfect union after all.