I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s a pretty controversial presidential race going on in our country right now. 😉 And these other people are running for other offices and there are political ads in our mailboxes every.single.day. We’re all seeing blog posts and RANTS and videos – and RANTS – and memes and
solid advice MORE RANTS on social media concerning these issues and these politicians.
And it’s incredibly tiring. Because it’s constant. And it’s everywhere.
It’s enough to make you consider chucking Facebook altogether and hibernating with Netflix (no political commercials!) until after November 8.
But maybe sometimes we’re part of the problem, if we’re not careful. No matter our political leanings, it’s too easy to become a fearful jerk, spouting out ugliness in the name of godliness. It’s just as easy to become the more “enlightened” person, throwing the rest of the Christians under the bus, trampling them to leap towards your desired title of “Best Human Being.”
To be honest, I’ve been at both extremes at certain points, if only in my mind. And both are ugly places to live. God’s got something better for us, I feel sure.
So, let’s ask ourselves a series of questions to determine if we’re keeping our sanity and faith intact during this political season.
#1 How much time am I spending researching the candidates? And have I maybe crossed the line into “obsessive” territory?
We want to vote for the best person for the job. OF COURSE we do. And sometimes that will take research. Yes. But if we find ourselves getting worked up over every little thing that happens during the course of this presidential race, we might need to take a break. I have to enforce this myself. I know me. I don’t like myself when I’m spending too much time watching the news (via TV or Facebook). And I start to get annoyed at everyone else who doesn’t hold my exact opinion. “Annoyed” can quickly lead to downright ANGRY – though feeling righteous anger is not a sin, it can lead to sin if unchecked. That’s heading down a rocky, dangerous road that I’d rather not travel.
#2 Am I parroting things I’ve heard that strike fear into my heart?
Two things here. We can’t let fear take over. I love this article by Michael Whitworth (a fellow FHU alum): Don’t Give Into Fear. So good. “Don’t give into fear. Don’t tell me the sky is falling. ISIS and the communists and fascists and socialists and liberals aren’t a threat to us if only because we have something they cannot take away. A lot less of the donkey and the elephant; a lot more of the Lion and the Lamb.”
And maybe we should just remain calm and explore other options. Just because some important person on TV said it, that doesn’t mean that God will let it come to pass. And if He does? Then I wholeheartedly believe He’s going to make something good out of it. No matter who’s president.
#3 Am I feeling more enlightened than everyone else?
This one is a pride thing, folks. And pride is ugly. God doesn’t like pride in humans. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18) Ouch.
But it’s soooo easy to slip from a genuine “Aha!” moment when everything clicks and the heavens open and you realize that such-and-such is probably EXACTLY what Jesus would do…and then the devil places a little seed of prideful arrogance in your heart. And walks away, laughing. Don’t water that seed! Don’t post something condescending on Facebook and stir the pot – and then feel justified when someone says you’re a genius…and everyone else is an idiot. =(
Let’s strive to be more gentle than we feel. Let’s put a lid on the sarcasm. Let’s be people of peace. Let’s stay humble and patient. Even when we can’t agree. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:18)
#4 Do the things I say (online and in real life) match up with the message of the Bible? Does my attitude match up with the attitude of Jesus? Am I having a negative effect on my circle of influence – either alienating other Christians or insulting non-Christians?
These are things we need to prayerfully consider. Every once and awhile, I look back through my recent posts on Facebook and Instagram and analyze them. Are there patterns of worldliness that I need to adjust?
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13: 5)
If any of these answers give us pause, we definitely need to ask ourselves this next question…
#5 Am I praying and reading God’s Word at least as much as I’m keeping up with politics?
If we’re not, our focus is easily transferred to things of this world. And that’s not at all where our focus belongs. I find I have So Much More internal peace and joy when I’m talking to God regularly and meditating on His Word. Let’s pray for patience and humility. For peace and wisdom. If you’re looking for more ways to get His Word into your heart, we’ve got a previous post about that. =)
#6 Can there possibly be other solutions outside the political realm that would better benefit from my strongly held beliefs?
For instance, many Christians are extremely concerned about abortion – and rightly so. But is voting for a more “conservative” candidate the only thing we can do about that concern? Surely not! What if we befriended a young unwed mother? What if we volunteered in an inner city ministry? What if we adopted a child? Or helped fund someone else’s adoption? What if we became foster parents?
I’m talking to myself here, too. Let’s not allow the hard stuff deter us from actually living out our beliefs. Yes, it’s infinitely easier to share a link to a blog post than to rearrange our lives to show God what we believe. But let’s show Him anyway. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:11)
#7 Am I spreading the Good News or the bad news?
The drama sells. The bad stuff gets the spotlight. But in the midst of all of this MESS, don’t you think a crystal clear, unchanging truth could be even more appealing? A message of grace and hope and joy is ours to share. And there is certainly a better place being prepared for us. This life isn’t all there is, thank Goodness! Who knows what seeds we’ll plant or water when we are obviously filled up and overflowing with God’s love?
Wes McAdams wrote an excellent post concerning his political position as a Christian: Changing the Way I Think About Politics. I’m a big fan of this quote here: “For the record, I absolutely would NOT vote for Jesus for President. He is already King of kings and Lord of lords, I am quite certain He would not want a demotion to President of the United States.”
In the end, how we conduct ourselves during this process may be more important to God than who we did (or didn’t) vote for. Let’s choose wisely.
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Sherry Thomas says
Well thought out and written. I appreciate your young heart so very much.
Thank you so much, Sherry! What a sweet comment! =)