four years ago, during the presidential election, i wrote my one “political” post for the season. i’ve written a few others through the years, but after i write them, i always tell myself “never again”.
well i’ve gone back on my word again. but this is it. no mas.
since the internet and air waves are starting to blow up with opinion overload, i figured i should get my observations out early, so you all can get on with expressing yours. here are some things i am thinking as i watch the GOP convention:
i will never let your political opinions affect my relationship to you. our interaction is based on stuff that is way more important than politics.
i know why i have never run for president or any other position of civic leadership. apparently, it’s ok for people to gossip, slander, viciously attack, lie, be divisive, call names, insult, accuse, think the worst, disgrace and demean…as long as it’s about a president or presidential hopeful. my skin is not nearly thick enough. i hope we don’t start giving people permission to treat pastors this way. sheesh.
you will never know how i vote. you may think you do, but you don’t. i made a decision a long time ago that i would never, ever risk damaging my friendships or my ability to care for people, over something as inconsequential as my personal political opinion. you can check out my post from four years ago for a deeper explanation, if you’re having trouble sleeping.
i’m not as dumb as i look. i tend to play really dumb when the subject of politics comes up, but i’m truly not as dumb as i look. i promise. i read everything i can find. i don’t just read stuff that reinforces what i already believe, but i work hard to understand the other side of every issue. but i don’t do it so i can talk. i do it so i can listen. what you think matters to me.
i don’t completely trust any person, news , or information source to give me political truth. in fact, these days there’s really nobody i trust to give unbiased or uninfluenced fact. even the people and sources that i have trusted in the past have been sucked into the battlefield of half-truths and telling people what they want them to know. “christian” sources are some of the worst offenders. it embarrasses me.
i have a fundamental problem with the bill of rights and the constitution. just hear me out. it’s a personal thing. i believe…with my whole heart…that all the “rights” and “opportunities” i’m told i deserve as a citizen of the united states have been patently redefined by my relationship to jesus. in my redemption, i forfeited all my “rights”. i am first and foremost a citizen of the kingdom…and in that kingdom, i have no “rights”. i am a servant of the king. my role and responsibility in the kingdom of god always trumps my “rights” as a citizen of this great country. and that will always create tension for me.
people disagree. but just because we disagree, it doesn’t make you ignorant. and i wish how you interact with me didn’t insinuate that i am an imbecile because i can’t see what you see. i want that respect from pentecostals, calvinists, democrats, republicans, and dodger fans. and you deserve it from me.
i know what the bible says regarding this whole political mess we find ourselves in. these words only apply to people who claim to follow jesus and submit themselves to the authority of the holy writings. all of the rest of you are off the hook:
- pray. in 1 timothy 2:1-2, paul writes
First, I want all of you to pray for everyone. Ask God to bless them. Give thanks for them. Pray for kings. Pray for all who are in authority. Pray that we will live peaceful and quiet lives. And pray that we will be godly and holy.
citizens of the kingdom are held to a different standard than the rest of society. as americans, we have the freedom to say whatever we want. as slaves of christ, we have the command to pray for our leaders and to live in quietness and peace. will you spend as much time praying for mitt romney, as you do criticizing him? have you asked god to bless president obama and expressed your thanks to god for his service to this country…with the same passion that you have called his politics into question? if you haven’t, you are simply disobedient to the one who has given you grace and mercy that you don’t deserve. think about it.
- live by a higher standard. a simple paraphrase of 1 peter 2:17 is this:
Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by disobeying Him. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect governing authorities.
don’t make a mockery of god by thinking, acting, or talking in a way that is contrary to the character and personality of jesus. even though you have the freedom to do it…and the promise of forgiveness when you act in disobedience. no matter what…whether a person “deserves” it or not…the kingdom citizen treats every person with dignity and absolute respect. anything short of that tarnishes the reputation of the king and the kingdom.
in this political season, be wise…be diligent…be involved…and be committed to your principles and what you believe to be true and righteous for the good of our country.
but more than that, be humble…be gracious…be loving…be peacemakers…and be christlike in every way.