Disclaimer: This article is specifically written to Christians, proceed at your own risk. If you choose to proceed you may find words that do not make sense and statements that appear foolish.
Christ calls us to:
Love God with all of our heart.
Love our neighbors as ourselves.
If Christ is the foundation upon which we stand, this MUST be the framework for what we do. As a Christian, when I engage in relationships, business, or politics, I try to do it in this context. As I have mentioned in past writings, I am truly saddened when I see culturally destructive behavior coming from Christians or conservative media/politicians. I work very hard to not confuse engagement in our political system with the Great Commission. When I engage as a public servant, I am there to serve. When topics arise that I am very passionate about, my responses have to be measured and wise, not emotional and accusatory. Political activism on my part is not to be confused with ministry. It is very possible to be called to political involvement, and ministry opportunities may arise, but confusion regarding this is a trap. I have seen this end many political careers over the years.
Both sides of our political system believe the other is full of hatred, moral control, and judgement. This kind of behavior certainly does not fit within the framework of following Christ. Love is kind, not self-seeking, boastful or rude, and does not rejoice in evil (from I Corinthians 13). This should be what America sees in Christians regardless of the rise and fall of conservative or liberal agendas.
I was at a design conference in Silicon Valley (read about that here) and two of the key individuals involved in the Obama digital campaign were presenting. Daniel Ryan and Adam Stalker were sharing the strategies they employed to sway people online to vote for Obama in 2012. At the end they were asked if there was any concern about sharing campaign strategies that were so detailed. Their response was profound, they dismissively said “Until the other side learns to #@^*&! care about people, they will lose!”.
I do not believe that Christian faith leaders want to be viewed this way, but they are by many people. As a Christian I get lumped in with with an image of uncaring self-righteousness blended with fire and brimstone. I will be honest, this really is discouraging and painful at times. Judgement is reserved for God himself (James 4:12). This is important as I deal with people who are so different from me. Personally, I believe God’s care and concern for the families in America urges me to serve my community, even those I do not agree with.
We are called to love God and love others as we do ourselves. I feel the need to apply this to my every act in my community. This is difficult and it is hard for me to not get caught up in a fear of our culture rather than trust in God. We fail, and Jesus so loved the world that He died to help us recover and find God’s heart again. He can work through our humility and can teach us as we go out into the community.
I want to include Paul’s comments to the church at Thessalonica
1 Thessalonians 5:13-26 (NASB)
Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
This passage is important because it is a simple narrative on how Christians should behave. I personally believe this also applies to how we should behave while in service of our community.
Our fight is not against the people of this world but against destruction, entropy and degradation of who God made us to be (my paraphrase of Ephesians 6). Remember that all political parties are made up of individual people whom God made and loves. We need to treat them with respect and compassion, not disdain and hatred. I really hope we can once again start being the light that illuminates the character of God instead of proclaiming judgement on a world that needs His encouragement and love.
Proclamation: If you suffered through this article and are curious, Jesus loves you and we celebrate his birth this season because he died for our sins. I pray for you to know him not out of pity, but from genuine love. A good article describing this perspective can be found here.