Every four years one of my favorite things takes place: the summer Olympics; and every four years one of my least favorite things takes place: the election of our new president.
Here is the thing. I used to believe that politics was the hope of the Christian world. I have since swung so far in the opposite direction that voting for me is done with much difficulty. For me, politics has created a massive division down the center of the country. On both sides are politicians that seem to care only about the acquisition of power. Being a registered Independent, I find my passion for politics lessens the more the mud and name calling starts to fly.
Our country is in the worst state it has been in recent memory, and our politicians remain entrenched on important issues and squabble over non-essentials. Should Christians care more about the environment? Yes. Should Christians do all they can to protect all life? Yes. Here is my beef with Christians and politics. We think God is on our side. If you are a Republican, you think God is on your side. If you are a Democrat, he’s on your side. He’s not; He’s on His side.
In my recent reading of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life story, I love how the Gospel formed his political decisions. His first decision was whether or not to serve in the war. After much prayer and contemplation, he came to the decision that he was called to pacifism. As a result, he did everything he could to avoid serving on the front lines. As the war progressed, it became clear to him, through much prayer and anguish, that he must do all he could to end the war and suffering of his fellow Christians and the Jewish people.
Dietrich did something I think so many Christians do not do. He continually subjected his decisions to the filter of the Gospel. He didn’t start first with a political party and work backwards to the Gospel. He asked, “What does God require of me?” As Christians, today more than ever, we have to focus on the power of the Gospel to transform our country. The more we cling to our political labels while ignoring the injustice of both parties, the longer we will have winter…but never Christmas.
As a Christian our hope must be in the finished work of Christ not a candidate. As gospel-centered believers we must continue to call each party to the center, the center of the Gospel, where everlasting hope and justice are found.