During the political season some of us seem to say and do things unbecoming of Christians. I suppose it has always been this way, but I believe fear and anxiety have been exacerbated by social media and the 24 hour news cycle. So this is a friendly reminder to not allow your politics to trump your Christian principles.
Whoever you’re voting for – or whether or not you’re even voting – you probably think your political choice is the wise choice. You most likely want others to see the wisdom in your choice. There is nothing wrong with that. But let me ask you, what is real wisdom? What does wisdom look like?
Most people think wisdom is just about knowledge; making the right choices and having the best arguments. However, James wrote, “Wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17).
When you interact with people about politics, are you being peaceable? Are you being gentle? Are you being “open to reason”? That phrase means you can easily be convinced when someone presents a solid counterargument. So when you interact with people, are you showing yourself to be “open to reason” or are you showing yourself to be stubborn and hard-headed?
You might very well be making the best choice politically, but that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily being wise about how you express your political views. I think we could use a little more “wisdom from above” in the current political season.
Don’t Gossip or Slander
There is a vast difference between sharing your thoughts about a legitimate news item and passing along conspiracy theories that may or may not be true, simply because they bolster your political argument. Whether or not you like the person, or agree with their policies, you must remember that every political candidate is an actual human being created in the image of God.
When you speak about a political candidate, the same “rules” apply as when you are talking about your next door neighbor. Even if you don’t like your neighbors, even if your neighbors are horrible people, it doesn’t give you the right to spread rumors about them. You still must treat your neighbors – and political candidates – as you would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12). Do you really want others spreading nasty rumors about you?
Colossians 3:8 says, “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” You do not have the right to talk maliciously about, or spread rumors about, someone just because they are running for public office.
We must stand for truth. And standing for truth doesn’t just mean supporting the right candidates or the right policies, it also means verifying everything for accuracy before spreading it to others.
Don’t Be Divisive
The church has too much division already and the way we express our opinions about politics often causes even more division. There is nothing wrong with expressing your opinions, but when you express them in such a way that you make your brothers and sisters in Christ your enemies, your opinion has become a spiritual problem.
Yes, the character and the policies of those holding public office are important. Yes, lives hang in the balance. But we cannot sacrifice the unity of the church in order to achieve our political aims.
Romans 12:16 says, “Live in harmony with one another.” And Proverbs 6:19 says the Lord hates when someone sows discord among brothers.
Politics are temporary. The church and your soul are eternal. Don’t let temporary things trump eternal things.
I love you and God loves you,