Like most people I have very strong personal opinions about politics. But I’ve never bought into the idea that I have to chose a team. Please don’t misunderstand me - I vote, I support candidates and causes I believe in, but I try to always keep my eyes on God.
“All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” - Philippians 3:15-20
I guess I’ve always been that way. I’ve never been into sports and it fascinates me to watch people get so worked up for their team that they get into physical altercations with the other side. I’ve gotten into F1 racing with my husband and I definitely cheer for my favorite drivers, but if they do something wrong, unsportsmanlike or against the rules, I acknowledge it. I don’t defend or try to justify their behavior.
There is right and wrong.
God’s Word tells us there is right and wrong - righteousness and sin. It’s sad to me that many of us, not just in the United States, but around the world, are able to compartmentalize, justify, or just stay silent about the sinful actions and behavior of leaders in our political party.
When I say “our", that is NOT a codeword for Republicans or Democrats. There is sin and bad behavior on both sides. If you don’t agree with that last statement, then you might not like the rest of what I have to say, but I hope you will keep reading with an open mind. Like I said, I have my own political beliefs, but this post isn’t about me or you. It’s about God. And it’s about living in truth and love regardless of your political opinions.
When we stand before Him, I believe He will care about right and wrong - not which party you were a member of. I believe He cares about how we treat each other.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?
Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. - Matthew 22:36-40
I believe He wants us to obey Him in all things.
“We must obey God rather than men! - Acts 5:29
“And you will know that I am the Lord, for you have not followed my decrees or kept my laws but have conformed to the standards of the nations around you. - Ezekiel 11:12
To me, that means calling out sin even if it’s committed by the politician or party you support.
“Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning. — 1 Timothy 5:20
“So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. — Luke 17:3
“If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked. — Proverbs 29:12
“Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. — James 4:17
We are supposed to speak the truth in love, so you can still support your party, your cause, your politician while also acknowledging that sometimes they are wrong.
Alright, before I go any further, I ask you to examine your reactions to these scriptures and what I’ve written so far. Have you been thinking of “your” party? Here in the United States as I write this, we are in a presidential election year. Did you think of “your” candidate? Did you think of the opposing candidate? Or did you think of how God’s Word applies to your own political beliefs and behavior?
This is about you. Not them.
I hope you thought about yourself, because that’s my intention with this post. I generally don’t talk politics through loved+blessed. Again, not because it’s not important, but because loved+blessed is about what unites us as God’s children and finding encouragement from the Bible in the midst of the tough stuff that life throws our way.
So let me be honest, I want you to comment and respond to this post…..BUT, I’m NOT looking for your political opinions. Whether I agree with your opinions or not, I will remove any comments that promote or attack a political party or politician. Because again, this post isn’t about that. I want you to read this and encourage you to focus on God, not a party or a candidate. I want you to see politics though His eyes and examine your heart and remove any calluses that prevent you from hearing truth and calling out sin without bias. Don’t worry, I’m #preachingtomyself too.
And the only way I know how to do that is to line my beliefs and behavior up with God’s Word. To take His side regardless of earthly politics. When I do this, I’m able to love people I disagree with. I’m able to have civil conversations with friends I’ve known for years who have opinions I don’t support.
Do I condone hate from friends? No, of course not! Like it says in Titus 3:10, I stand firm in God’s Word and talk to them in love, but if they spew hate that is sin; rebellion against God.
“But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. — Titus 3:10
Ok, time for some #realtalk
To be honest, I’m nervous about your response to this post. My intention is always to encourage. To do that, I believe you also have to be honest.
What do you see in this picture? What was your 1st reaction? Did you see two human beings smiling and hugging? Or did you react through a political lens based on your views? Sometimes our reaction to pictures like this help us to understand where our heart truly is.
Some of us are so worn out on politics right now, because we’re doing more talking than listening. We’re reacting without empathy. Sometimes it feels like we’ve forgotten to see the human being we are talking to and think they don’t have any feelings. We’re wasting our energy to think up arguments and craft witty tweet-worthy comebacks to defend our positions.
What if we spent some of that time and energy trying to seek to understand those we disagree with instead of arguing with them? I am NOT saying that you have to accept someone else’s opinion. I am saying that you should try to understand it and try to help them understand yours too.
There are some who will never understand. There are those who can’t show the love of Christ to people they disagree with. That’s really sad to me.
There are those who will refuse to listen. We have to accept that truth, just like we have to accept that not everyone accepts Jesus into their hearts.
So I’ll end this post with some tips on how you can stay encouraged even with all the political division going on.
Be a Christian 1st rather than a Democrat or Republican or Libertarian or Independent.
Examine your own political beliefs in light of what the Bible says, not what people say, not what the news says, not what you read online.
Seek to understand why people you care about might have different views than you.
Practice empathy by educating yourself on issues you don’t fully understand or that don’t effect you personally.
Speak truth (and your opinions) in love and don’t waste time engaging with people who aren’t ready or willing to listen.
Pray for those you disagree with - not for them to change their minds, but for their heart to turn toward God….He’ll do the rest.
Jamila is the founder of loved+blessed. On her personal mission to leave a legacy of encouragement, she blogs about her own life lessons with the hope that it will bring joy into others’ lives and help them find the courage to keep walking in faith knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Read her testimony of how God turned her misery into ministry.