Friday, September 18, 2009
Divided by Politics
Hey out there. It's been a few months but I think I'm finally getting back in the swing of things. Let's start off the fall season with a topic it seems everyone is talking or thinking about. What's that you ask? No it's not fantasy football (although I do have a pretty good squad this year), it's politics.
I'm sure you've either gotten into or at least overheard a political discussion in the past few months. It seems that this country is growing more and more divided and hostile with each passing day. Most all of us have strong political opinions whether they fall on the left or the right. Below are just a few thoughts that I find helpful to remind myself just as a particular discussion is getting heated and I'm tempted to lose my religion just to score a few polticial points. Hope they're helpful to you.
My primary calling to my ethnicity and this country is one of witness, influence and discipleship. My main calling is to promote the King's agenda to all people. Am I particularly concerned with African-Americans? Yes I am just as Paul was particularly concerned with Jewish people (see Romans 9). But my concern for black folks doesn't and can never center on striving to see that we get our piece of the American pie. I must first concern myself with the souls of black folks for their souls will far outlast their sojourn in this country.
Does my concern for African-Americans lesson the concern I have and should have for others? Of course not, no more than Paul was less concerned about Greeks or Romans just because he yearned to see his own people embrace Christ. I am an American citizen and am therefore concerned for the overall well-being of this country just as I'm concerned for the overall well-being of those blacks who reside within it. However, just as I'm not primarily focused with the temporary fortunes of African-Americans so I'm also not devoted to America maintaining its military and economic dominance. While I wish no harm to America and certainly don't wish this or any country have to suffer undue hardships, I am not devoted to its continued world supremacy.
My real and lasting citizenship is in heaven. For now I live in a fallen broken world. And even if everyone whom I wished were elected and able to manage this country in the exact manner I believed it ought to be managed I'd still live in a fallen, broken country where things went wrong. I will only be completely safe, content, fulfilled, free from pain, sorrow or worry in the kingdom that is to come.
Those who oppose my political positions are not necessarily anti-black, anti-American or anti-Christian. I may believe they're wrong but that doesn't make them stupid, foolish or evil.
I really do have more in common with believers with whom I disagree politically than with unbelievers whose politics line up with my own.
Because I first and foremost represent the King and not a particular ethnicity or country I'm bound by His example and word to speak to, speak about and treat everyone with a measure of dignity, respect and kindness. And I must pay particular attention to how I regard and respect my elected officials. For me to belittle, demean or seek to humiliate anyone for any reason is to promote and endorse the very thing my King is against.
Regarding my political positions I could be wrong. I don't have all the information, cannot possibly with 100% accuracy predict the future, cannot be absolutely sure of everyone's motives and intentions and therefore should approach any political discussion with a measure of humility.
While I hope and would work to see that my politics reflect biblical principles I must admit that the application of those principles will differ depending on any number of factors. Thus a brother or sister in Christ who disagrees with my politics isn't necessarily unbiblical or even wrong.
I need to take the biblical mandate seriously and not put my trust in men no matter how sincere, competent and well-meaning I believe them to be. At the end of the day they are men.
The eternal kingdom of the living God is in no way dependent on a particular country for its inevitable growth and progress. If the U.S. dissolved tomorrow God's kingdom would roll on.
This is prime time for God's people. We live in a deeply divided country at a time of great uncertainty. What better time then to show the world what biblical reconciliation is. Since Christ reconciled His enemies by the cross I know we can show love and respect to those who differ from us politically. In the face of fear, frustration, uncertainty and division we present and proclaim Christ the one who drives away fear, has complete sovereign control of His world (and our lives), is a sure and certain hope for our souls and unifies men and women, blacks and whites, soccer moms and basketball moms, working income and middle income, city dwellers and suburbanites, and yes even republicans and democrats into one eternal family by His cross.
Finally, while I take politics seriously I do so with a grain of salt. I need to remember that the worst thing that could happen to me is not that my party fails to gain power, or that my people fail to take our place in America or that even America loses its worldwide influence, power and status. No the worst thing that could happen to me, my people or America is that we take this world so seriously that we completely neglect the world to come. That I'd be so convinced of the rightness of my arguments and the justice of my cause that how I spoke to and treated others didn't matter. The worst thing that could happen to me is that I would lose focus on the reality of the eternal yet to come and allow the reality of the temporary now to dominate my mind, heart and actions. The worst thing I could do is to so identify with black folks, or America or democrats or republicans that I actually replace the pursuit of God's eternal kingdom and agenda with the pursuit of their temporary agenda. The worst thing that could happen to me is that I pour all of my energy and efforts into a country destined for destruction and fail to tell the people of that country of a far better country with a far better destiny and far, far better King.
To Him Who Loves Us...