By: Kris Dolberry– The Bible is explicit, if you are a Christian person, your citizenship is not of this world (Philippians 3:20). You are strangers and exiles here (1 Peter 2:11). We seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). We are Kingdom people before we are party people. But practically what does that look like? As Kingdom people, how do we approach political engagement? Here are 4 ways:
One of my favorite things about our church is our growing diversity. We run the breadth of the political spectrum. We have everything from Trump-supporting, gun-toting Republicans to CNN watching, environment-loving, feel the Bern Democrats and everything in between. And guess what, that is a beautiful picture of Heaven! But those differences are a threat to our unity. Therefore, we must be conscious of the threat and fight not with each other but for each other. Jesus said, “All men will know that you’re my disciples by the way you love each other.” We may disagree politically, but Jesus commands us to love unconditionally.
By the way, If you are looking for a church where everybody is the same, this may not be the right church for you. But if this is your church, as your pastor, I implore you, fight for unity!
I’m talking primarily to the social media revolutionaries who are reading this. Have you ever been scrolling Facebook and come across something that infuriates you to the point that you can feel your blood pressure rising? You are compelled to respond! If that happens, breathe and remember, firing back an emotionally charged comment is almost never the right course of action. Could I propose a better way? See it as a prime opportunity to reflect the gospel. While we were warring against God, Christ showed us the ultimate display of grace (Romans 5:8). If you’ve been given grace by Christ, you honor Christ when you offer grace in the name of Christ.
Also let me say, if you share politically polarizing content on social media because “that other party needs to hear how stupid their opinion is,” stop right now! The hope of the world is not your political opinion. The hope of the world is Jesus- the ultimate grace-giver. Share that hope!
If you’ve been given grace by Christ, you honor Christ when you offer grace in the name of Christ.
Whether you realize it or not, every news outlet has its own set of biases. Some run deeper than others. Can I be blunt? Like it or not, both Fox News and CNN shape narratives, schedule interviews, and design programming to promote their partisan agendas. In the words of the apostle Paul, “I don’t want you to be ignorant brothers.” If your only source of information is purely red or purely blue, you are certain to fall victim to media propaganda. So, be informed! Being properly informed requires a balanced diet of all political viewpoints. So first, cut out the junk food media that only exists to create fear and make your blood boil. Then add a healthy helping of reporting from the other side of the aisle. If you’re a democrat, watch Fox News from time to time. If you’re Republican, take a break from Rush Limbaugh to drink from another well. Don’t listen to be critical. Listen with an open mind. You might find you gain an empathetic perspective you never had before.
Practically speaking, I’m personally grateful for the work of Dr. Russell Moore and his organization, The Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission for helping me make sense of complex political issues by providing, in my observation, a mostly unbiased Kingdom perspective.
In Mark 12, when approached by the Herodians and the Pharisees about a political issue, Jesus did not call for political passivity. Rather He said, “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s.” In other words, don’t deny your civic obligations. Jesus does not call us to Kingdom advancement at the expense of political involvement. To the contrary, Gospel-fueled Kingdom advancement should invade every part of our society. To be explicitly clear, Christians should be engaged in the political world. So vote! But when you vote, vote through a Kingdom lens not a partisan lens. Run for office. I have friends who serve as elected officials on the federal, state, and local levels. I’m incredibly thankful for them. We need more Kingdom worldviews in Washington and in Spring Hill and everywhere in between. So, Christians… be involved! But remember, as Dr. Tony Evans said, “We can be partisan or we can be prophetic. But we cannot be both.”
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