Politicians Are Not Jesus

by Feb 29, 2024Christian living, Culture, Government, Speech0 comments

Rumblings about a second American Civil War have grown louder. People confine themselves to dark allusions, for fear of naming it into existence. Yet one can hardly fail to notice the widening political chasm. Crossing the aisle today looks like a tightrope across Niagra. People mourn the loss of brotherhood and civility, but then paint their political opponents as swamp goblins. In such a world, how should Christians approach this election season?

I am saddened by the number of pastors and church leaders I hear summoning their followers to greater political zeal. I don’t know a single person who needs to be convinced about the importance of politics, or the perks of power. People need Jesus. We need to see the root of the issue. We need to see that our world is torn by sin—anger, greed, pride, lust, and envy. And then we need to see those sins in ourselves. In your heart and mine. No politician is going to fix that.

Jesus didn’t come to change the world from the top down. When he is facing his sham trial and execution, Jesus says, “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn 18:36). Christians believe that God changes people (and the world) from the inside out, through giving people a new Spirit. Good systems, leaders, and laws do matter. The Bible tells us to pray for these things, so that we can live peaceably (I Tim 2:2). No one is itching to live under Nazi Germany or the communist Khmer Rouge. But Christians can sail with a ballast that the rest of the world lacks.

When I hear secular leaders, both conservative and progressive, smear and demonize people they disagree with, in a sense, I get it. If Jesus is not your savior and Lord, then this world is all you’ve got. If your political good guys lose, then you’ve lost your hope. That’s why the Church has a golden opportunity in this moment to sound different from everyone else. Instead of adding one more voice to the clamor, being one more hand stirring the pot of provocation, we can show a different way.

Christians should vote, rally, and speak their minds. But then you need to know in your heart that God is good, and He’s going to take care of this country and you, regardless of an election’s outcome. Jesus died for the people who were killing him because he loved them. The stunning power of the gospel message comes in this reversal. Instead of breaking his rebellious people to his will, God came down and died for us.

Those who live in the kingdom of Jesus live by the rule of sacrificial service. Jesus has already won and is reigning. His kingdom has been in place and spreading for two thousand years. It’s not in any danger of toppling this November. Christians can blast more gusts of scorching wind this year, or we can offer an oasis by demonstrating the poise, gentleness, and grace that characterize a kingdom that will never hold an election.

 

 

This article was initially published in the Star Courier.

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