Saturday, October 15, 2016
Being like Jesus politically
I did a series of sorts of ways or areas we should be like Jesus. I haven't done one for a while, and since this has been on my mind lately, I decided to attempt one on being like Jesus politically.
People love to say what Jesus would and wouldn't do:
Jesus would vote Republican
Jesus would vote Democrat
Jesus wouldn't vote at all
and on and on
But what would Jesus be like politically?
Israel during Jesus' time on earth was under Roman rule. The Jews definitely did not vote in their rulers. Their rulers had come in and taken over the country. I have read stories about how the Romans treated the Jews, and it was bad. It wasn't unusual for them to crucify anyone who dared speak up or attempt an uprising.
John the Baptist spoke up against Herod for his adultery, but we have no record of Jesus speaking up against Rome or Roman rulers. When asked about paying taxes to Rome, He said to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. Other than that, there doesn't seem to be a record of Jesus saying anything about politics or political figures.
So what would Jesus be like if His earthly ministry was going on today in 2016 America? Would He vote for the party intent on killing babies in the womb because He is pro-life, or would He vote Democrat because they want to open the borders and liberals say Jesus would be for that? Would He vote for the very corrupt Hillary Clinton, or the corrupt and immoral Trump? Would He be so dedicated to a political party that He would vote for the candidate no matter what they did or said? Would He vote for a third party candidate who doesn't seem corrupt at all, and lines up with Biblical principles, or would He not even vote at all?
Would He post things on Facebook defending immoral behavior in a candidate? Would He post things on Facebook condemning either candidate for their acts and words? Would He post anything political on Facebook at all........ would He even use Facebook? (He may actually do that one, but sparingly and for only good).
How would He act towards someone voting differently than Him? Would He call them names and labels for not voting as He thought they should? What would be important to Him in a candidate: morals and character, or keeping our freedoms intact?
Would He un-friend those who spoke differently about a candidate than He did?
I am not answering those questions because I don't know for sure (though I do have opinions), and I am not going to be one of those saying "Jesus would" or "Jesus wouldn't" in an attempt to prove my views are correct and someone else's are wrong. I do believe there are Biblical principles to guide us, and I am doing my best to abide by them.
You may disagree with me on this, but if Jesus was here doing His earthly ministry in 2016 America, I don't believe He'd be paying much attention to the political scene, if at all. He was all about loving people. He'd be doing His thing: healing people, loving people, speaking, and ticking off the religious leaders. He likely wouldn't register to vote, nor tell people how to vote.
There is a Christian ministry called Hope for Wholeness. It is for people dealing with unwanted same-sex attractions. I have gone to two of their conferences they have in the summer, and found them helpful and encouraging, and made some new friends. I am in their Facebook groups, and interact and pray for people in those groups. The leader of the ministry has become very pro-Trump and anti-Hillary, and posts some pretty intense political posts on Facebook on his own page. I messaged him recently and politely pointed out that even though I am against Hillary, he may want to tone it down.. that he may turn away the very people he is wanting to help if they are for her and/or against him. He thanked me, but then posted on his page what I had said (not by name) and said just because he is a ministry leader, it doesn't mean he should be quiet about politics.
But is he right? What if people are coming to him for help with same-sex attractions, and are turned off by his anti-Hillary comments or his support and defense of Trump, if they are disgusted by him. What if people seeking help with their same-sex attractions walk away from him and his ministry because of him being political?
I know what you're thinking (well, maybe some of you) ...and you are correct. What if non-Christians are turned off by any of we Christians being political. What if your friend Betty May loves Hillary, and has been watching your life. Election time comes and suddenly you become a raging machine against Hillary. She sees what you say about Hillary and her supporters, and how you act towards them. What will she think of your Christianity then? What if your friend Billy Bob has been watching you and wanting to talk to you about Jesus, but then election time comes and you support and defend things in a man that he finds indefensible. He sees how you act towards, and what you say to those who don't like your candidate... will he want your religion after the election is over?
And no, I am not leaving one out. What if Billy Bob or Betty are watching we #nevertrump people? What if they are curious about our Christianity, but see what we say about people supporting Trump, and how we act towards them? Will they want to know our Jesus after the election? Will they think Christians and the church is too concerned about politics, and not enough about people?
There have been some very vicious things said by Christians on every side this election: pro-Cruz, anti-Cruz, pro-Carson, anti-Carson, anti-Hillary, pro-Hillary, pro-Trump, anti-Trump. What must the world think of we Christians when they see how we act towards each other and towards politicians we don't agree with, or agree with too much?
If Jesus was posting just like you and I during this election, saying the same things as you and I, acting the same way as you and I.... how much time would He have to be doing His ministry. How much time would He have left to love and heal people? Would people be following Him everywhere, or would His actions and words during this election time turn them off and they wouldn't want anything to do with Him?
I admire the Christian leaders who are taking what I believe to be the right stand this election: Max Lucado, Beth Moore, Albert Mohler, and some others. But there are others I admire even more: the people who are leaving politics off of social media. I have friends who post a lot against Hillary, a lot who post a lot against Trump, some who post a lot in support and defense of Trump....... but what if the ones being quiet about politics are the ones being most like Jesus during this election?
What is more important to us, being like Jesus, winning people to Christ, having people see Jesus in us..... or winning a political argument, shaming those who vote differently than us, and having our candidate win at any cost? Seriously. I don't care if your'e for or against Hillary Clinton, for or against Donald Trump, if you're voting third party or not at all.... if we are putting politics, country, and freedoms above God, then we have made politics, our freedoms, and our country into a god.
And it would appear that many of us are doing exactly that.
Yes, it is nauseating to see Christians defend things that we have stood against before this election.
And yes, I am sure it is irritating to have people point out why you should not vote for a candidate.
But where is Jesus in all of this? Ben Carson said sometimes you have to set your Christian values on hold get the work done.....it would seem too many of us have set our Christian values aside this election, no matter where you stand on either candidate. And Carson is wrong, by the way.. you never set your Christian values on hold.
We would be better off to not even vote, get the worst candidate the liberals could come up with, yet keep Jesus and our Christian witness; than to be too obsessed with politics and lose friends and turn people off on our Christianity and our Jesus.
Some day we will stand before God. On that day, it won't matter who won the 2016 election. The Supreme Court, gun rights, or politics won't matter....... but it will matter how we treated people and if we loved.
How would Jesus be politically? Nothing like we have been this election season.