Someone needs to take 2016’s keys away, because it’s not acting normal.
The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl without an offense. Brexit happened. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series. And now Donald Trump just won the presidential election. What kind of bizarro world are we living in?
Here are 2 thoughts for Christians to consider in light of the election:
1. Our country is divided and we are called to be peacemakers
Here in Boulder County, voters overwhelmingly voted Democrat. 71% voted for Hillary Clinton. The majority of the City of Longmont went for Hillary. Republicans took control of the House and Senate nationally, but Democratic candidates won almost every seat they ran for here in this area.
Nationally, as of right now Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Right before the election 61% of people said that they considered Donald Trump unfit to hold the office of president, which means that most people in our country are deeply concerned with the results, including some of the people who voted for Trump themselves.
Furthermore, this election was very divisive. I read a post on social media from a young woman today that said, “Every vote for Trump was a direct assault against me, my friends and my loved ones. I will not forget it.”
For Christians, no matter what your political stance, I think we must avoid the “us and them” mentality. Such a mentality encourages people to make value judgments about other people which are often not fair, such as “Liberals think that __________” or “Trump supporters condone __________.” Those generalizations are often, if not usually, untrue, and the reason for a person’s decision for how they vote is usually much more nuanced than people on the other side make it out to be.
I liked what President Obama said during his speech today, “This was an intramural scrimmage; we are all on the same team.”
Jesus taught his disciples, “Blessed (literally: “Happy”) are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Helping people make peace with God is at the core of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. An “us and them” mentality which divides people over political issues will only hinder that from happening.
Whoever loves God must also love his brother. – 1 John 4:21
Furthermore, resentment towards others hinders people from having a relationship with God. 1 John 4:20-21 says: If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. Yes, even someone who holds different political views than you.
We are called to be peacemakers, between God and people and between people and people. Let us not be those who perpetuate divisions, but those who encourage reconciliation.
2. Getting caught up in politics can hinder your true mission
President Obama said to the nation today, “Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, we are all Americans first.” As Christians, we go one very big step beyond that: We are not Americans first, we are Christians first.
As Christians, we have a calling to be ministers of the gospel. Jesus said to his disciples, “Just as the Father sent me, so I also send you.” (John 20:21) When people think of Christians, we don’t want them to associate us with a politician or a political affiliation or party, we want them to associate us with Jesus and the gospel message of the love and grace of God.
In a country as divided as ours is right now, it is very possible for politics to become a stumbling block and a hindrance to people being willing to hear the message of the gospel from those they disagree with politically. We can’t allow that. Our mission is so much more important.
Christians need to strive to be known not for alignment with a particular party or stances on economic policy or gun rights, but for our concentrated focus on the mission of God and the message of the gospel. This is not to say that Christians should not have opinions on such matters, it is to say that we must not allow these things to be associated with what it means to be a Christian.
May God bless our nation and help us who call ourselves Christians to faithfully follow Jesus, communicate his heart and carry out his mission.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)
8 thoughts on “2 Thoughts for U.S. Christians in the Wake of the Election”
Good article, Nick, and you make a good point: as Christians we need to proclaim our understanding that God is sovereign in all areas of our lives and that it is only through the grace given to us through His son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that we are saved. It is also incumbent on us to strive to be peacemakers and to let our words and actions lead others to Him rather than to cause others to be offended by our political opinions and subsequently blame our faith. For that reason, I have tried to abstain from posting political rhetoric on social media, and have mostly been successful in that restraint other than a couple of instances where I politely corrected some false information posted by others.
That being said, I do believe that it is our duty as Christians to defy the works of the enemy. I have often spoken of how one political party is closely aligned with organizations promoting secular humanism. Their progressive platform closely aligns with the stated objectives of secular humanism, and as such are functioning as an arm of the enemy. The supporters of this party often have no understanding of the motivations behind their parties stances. They are merely supporting ideologies that have been taught to them from preschool through college. The enemy often pursuedes through emotional means: redefining abortion as women’s health issues, for instance. Because of this, I believe that we, as Christians, must be ready to provide an answer to all who proclaim anything other than the truth. We must be responsive, we must represent Christ in the world, and we stand in the gap always rejecting false prophets. So, yes, “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God”, but also, “You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, with what will it be salted?” We must be peacemakers, but must also proclaim the gospel as proclaimed by Jesus, even if the world rejects our witness.
Shelby, thanks for your comments. I think we’re on the same page, as I also freely share my views on political issues when asked, yet I feel that Christians have done a disservice to the mission of God by being too closely aligned with right-wing politics.
Here’s the thing to keep in mind: EVERYBODY who holds a political view holds it because they believe it is the most compassionate and/or reasonable position. In other words, people all across the spectrum believe that they are “opposing evil”. For example, many people refused to vote for Trump because they considered him to be genuinely evil – a narcissistic megalomaniac who cares about no one but himself and unabashedly commits sexual assault and then brags about it, a man who spreads hateful rhetoric about immigrants and muslims. On the other hand, others opposed Hillary because they viewed her and her motives as “genuinely evil” – her stance on late term abortion in particular. Truth be told, the two parties’ stances on late term abortion aren’t actually all that different, despite the rhetoric – both support exemptions for special circumstances.
In particular I think Christians need to separate Christianity from political stances on economics, gun control and immigration. It could be argued (and is argued) that the Republican stances on these matters are at worst actually antithetical to the Christian faith and doctrine, and that to oppose these stances is to oppose evil.
That being said, you are absolutely right that God calls His people to oppose evil. The Minor Prophets point out 4 distinct groups of people who are the weakest in society, whom the people of God were chastised and even judged for not protecting. They are: Orphans, Widows, the Poor and Immigrants. I have no problem with saying that in our day and age this also should include the unborn. However, what about the others? Let’s make sure we care about what God cares about.
Thought provoking comments and blog. Thank you
While I agree with you on many of the points you raise, I feel compelled to clarify my comments. I am not defined by my political party, nor should any Christian be. My world view is defined by belief in God and His sovereignty. I am not an advocate for my political party, but I am an advocate for my God. I am simply stating that I will never align myself with the progressive movement or the political party that has adopted it as their platform. The party that claims ownership of ideas such as women’s health, marriage equality, the right to die, or the elevation of biogenesis over Biblical genesis. These are all euphemisms for support of pagan practices. If you want to understand the basis for these ideas it is imperative that you understand the progressive agenda. If you ask a progressive what they believe they are progressing towards, the response will not be to a closer relationship to God, it will be a distancing from God and towards a human created utopia…..absent of a reliance on, or a belief in God. The party of “hope” is the party of reliance on the state for our security and our future.
I am not encouraged by the election results other than this: the progressive movement has been dealt a severe blow which will slow it’s “progress” for at least the next few years. Our new president is not a conservative, as such, but more of a moderate which also gives me hope, as an American, that the devisiveness(sp) which has existed in our nations capital for many years now may finally end. As a business man, our new president is more of a pragmatist than an idealist, and that is also encouraging. A pragmatic approach to the issues you discussed such as economics, gun control, and immigration reform may actually bring resolution rather than discord. I am hopeful anyway.
I fully agree with you in that the church needs to remain focused on the teachings of the Bible. Our mission is different than the the missions of any political party, but we must rely not on the state to give comfort to the poor, widowed, orphaned, or misplaced, but we must do Gods work where it is needed. God bless you, Nick, and the work you do in the church. You and your family and the church are often in my prayers.
Thanks Shelby, I appreciate your comments and your sentiments. We love and miss you and your wife!
The question of the role of the church in relation to the state is a very interesting one, and one which throughout history has played out in several different ways, with varying measures of success. Whether the church should be a completely subversive “grass roots” organization, or whether it should work within an existing political structure to bring about the kinds of changes which we all agree are important and close to God’s heart, is not something which is clearly outlined or dictated in Scripture, thus it is an area where we are free and encouraged to seek the leading of the Holy Spirit and ask God for wisdom for how he would have us faithfully live out our faith in our unique situations and settings.
For a good overview of this topic including many historical examples, I recommend the following books, in this order: Christ and Culture by Niebuhr, Center Church by Keller, and Christ and Culture Revisited by Carson. I have written brief reviews of those books here: https://nickcady.org/2015/11/17/reading-and-writing-but-mostly-reading/
Also, I have written a few other thoughts on the salt and light concept here: https://nickcady.org/2015/03/14/should-christians-try-to-improve-society/
And Prince and David Bowie died.
Also, there will never be a president on this world can be what we all really want or need. They are flawed men. We discussed this topic in class today. We came to the conclusion that A) journalist got it wrong and needs to change the way we gather information, B) those people polled did not represent the midwest, C) perhaps people lied when polled and D) some may have changed their minds when voting. Also, one person called it a White-lash, meaning that the last 8 years were focused on the minorities and giving and giving and giving, but taking for the middle class and they were fed up.
One day we will have a flawed woman president too 🙂
I spoke with one of my cousins who is a big Bernie supporter and she said that she thinks the reason Hillary lost is because by the end many people who would have voted Democrat didn’t turn out to vote because they didn’t want to vote for her after the stuff came out about her and the DNC collaborating against Bernie. That’s actually pretty well substanted too; many people in usually Democratic areas didn’t turn out to vote. I personally don’t buy the “angry white male backlash” narrative. I heard one theory that said that it’s because we had a generation of white single mom’s who raised boys without fathers and now those boys are resentful against women because of their mothers and they are overcompensating in their machismo because they didn’t have dads. I’m sorry, but I think that is ridiculous and somewhat offensive and very presumptive. Like I said in the post: people’s reasons for voting how they do are much more nuanced than people like to think they are.