Christians in Politics

I am always extremely hesitant to write anything about politics because my main purpose in writing is for people to see how much God absolutely loves them and I don’t want anything I say about politics to take away from that.

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However, I also strongly believe that Christians should be involved in politics just not in the way many of my Christian friends are.

Hate won’t change anyone

Through the years, the absolute hardest thing that I have ever had to do as a Christian was learn to forgive people that I disagree with. And I don’t mean people I disagree with on politics. I’m talking about abusers. This was a tremendous battle for me. I fought it for years. I actually accused God of not caring as much as me about the victims of abuse because he ought to be zapping all the abusers. One day, I had what I call a “ranting prayer” where I just finally got real and honest with God about how I felt. I let him have it. I was so impassioned about this issue that I was arguing out loud with God. Yup. Like a straight up crazy person.  I ranted about how wrong abusers were and how justified I was in my hate. When I finally got it all out, I “heard” in my head the deep-down truth I knew but was fighting. “Your hate won’t change anyone”.

Ugh. That is a hard truth to live in. Cause hate feels good. Ranting about hate is cathartic and feels like you did something but it doesn’t change anything.  If you have read my book, you know that I had an argument like the one described above one time when I was driving in my car. Sadly, I have had this same argument with God many times about many different people who I had a hard time forgiving. Because it is hard to value people who are doing things that you clearly see as wrong. I don’t even know if it is humanly possible. I am quite certain that it is not Cindy Felkel possible. There is nothing in me that even remotely wants to value the humanity of abusive people. So, when I “hear” “hate doesn’t change anyone”. My response is always, “OK God. I see it. But I don’t feel it. If you want me to care about that person, you are going to have to empower that… however you do that…cause it is NOT what I want to do!”

When it comes to politics, I’m weird like in everything else in my life. I listen to both sides. I personally, want a smaller government, with more accountability, less waste, and more involvement in certain social justice issues (and I’d really like our leaders to be less douchey).

So basically, no one agrees with me! Which is Ok.  (Except on the douchey part…I think we can all agree on that.)

But when it comes to those douchey politicians, they are so easy to hate. And much of our hate is justified. There are tons of injustices in our society that need to be addressed and none of our politicians are doing a great job changing any of them. It seems as if they spend most of their time building their own images and tarnishing everyone else’s while nothing changes.

 But our hate isn’t changing anything either. Because hate is not supposed to be our weapon. We especially shouldn’t be hating whole groups of people who disagree with us.

And I’m aware that my Christian friends all know the lingo and will swear that they don’t hate anyone. They just “hate their sins” or “hate their politics” but judging from what many of my Christian friends post on social media, I’m quite certain that the other side is not feeling the love that we swear goes along with our political insults and rants.

 Just to be clear, name calling, stereo-typing, and other forms of bashing people are not signs of valuing or respecting them as human beings! These things don’t resemble love. So, quit fooling yourselves. You aren’t following Jesus’ command to love your enemies if you are hating people on the other side of the computer screen who disagree with your politics.

We are called to be peacemakers

So, my biggest political platform is that Christian involvement should first and foremost be about being peacemakers who promote God’s kingdom first. We should be the best listeners, have the calmest and wisest reactions, and leave every person who encounters us feeling a little better about themselves.

Jesus was an incredibly wise teacher who gave great advice for how we can all rise above the mess we currently find ourselves in. During his ministry, the political world wasn’t as different as we’d like to think. The Jewish people were looking for a religious leader to help them break free from control of the Roman Empire which they considered to be God’s enemy.  The tension between the two groups was extreme. The tension was so intense that when the Jews later revolted, the Roman soldiers destroyed their temple. Which was a shocking thing for people in that time period to do because they were polytheistic and believed in accommodating all the gods. But intense political and religious differences led to such extreme animosity between the two groups that the Romans did the unthinkable for them: they defied their commanders and destroyed the temple in Jerusalem.

Before all of this, in the sermon on the mount, found in Matthew 5, Jesus describes what it is like to be “in the Kingdom of God”. His followers expected him to talk about an earthly political kingdom but he talked about something much bigger which includes some political involvement for sure but much, much more. In this sermon, Jesus describes a whole system of living that is beyond the systems of this world. A system where God rules in our lives and all of our struggles in this world have purpose and meaning.

Part of being in this system, God’s kingdom, is the blessing that comes with being a “peacemaker”.

Jesus says in Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.”

In the messed-up hate-filled political system that we find ourselves in, I believe that all of us should be able to see the wisdom in being peacemakers. And let me be clear, I’m in no way saying retreat from politics and focus on being nice and not making waves.

I’m calling for the opposite. Make waves. Make big stinking tsunamis. But make sure those waves you are making are worth making. Make sure you aren’t simply adding to the confusion and pointless arguments from a defensive standpoint.

Have your own ranting prayer with God where you get out all of your frustration about the hurt that has been done in the name of politics. Then rant some more because you probably didn’t really get it all out. Tell God about that thing your uncle said about your dad and how you really deep down want to punch him in the throat (I mean….I’ve heard stories about people feeling that way!...) Tell God how hard his way is for you. Then ask him to help you see how his kingdom operates so much better than the broken kingdoms of this world. Ask for HIS wisdom and power to proceed.

Then enter the fray. Listen to both sides. Listen for the brokenness behind the name calling. Listen to the hurt that needs to be heard and give them a voice. Teach people to ask better questions. Direct the passion on social media to community and political involvement that actually changes things. Expect our media to at least be honest about their bias. Educate yourself and others. Remember that hate doesn’t change anyone. Valuing people changes people and systems.

If you are a Christian, by all means, be involved in politics but never at the expense of the higher kingdom that you are a part of. The kingdom of God values all people and has no need to operate from a defensive bitter stance because God is already ruling in the kingdom we serve. The politics of America only matter because of the value of each individual in America. And that is a difficult thing to live out, but it’s also amazing, empowering, beautiful, and can actually make a positive change in our country and our world.

So, go out and make some waves that result in peace, people will recognize you are a child of God.