Love you all, praying for you.
I just love God’s Word. It shares truth in a culture of deception. It tells you how to live as a person and a nation. Have you ever had this conversation before? Should Christians be involved in politics? If so, to what extent? And according to what standard of behavior? God said those who put their faith in Jesus Christ – become citizens of heaven, but we also live on here on earth, for seventy to eighty years. As believers in Christ what should your attitude and involvement be when it comes to politics? What does God say? Actually, to this question, God gives three clear instructions… But first, what is politics? There are two kinds: Politics of Process, and Politics of Conversation. Politics of Process: In a Democratic Republic like the United States of America – politics is the process by which people choose their leaders. It includes Candidate Campaigns financed by political contributions governed by campaign finance law. And Elections financed by taxpayer dollars, governed by the US Constitution, State Law and procedures determined by State Legislature or the authority they delegate to the Secretary of State. However, the political process in the United States as in any nation, is heavily influenced by the media and who controls them. Whether social media or mainstream media, these bring considerable weight to bear in forming public opinion towards or against one political candidate or worldview or another – whomever they decide to promote, disparage or censor. Political Conversation: The second kind of politics. The barbershop and kitchen table conversations. What you believe to be true or false about candidates, parties, philosophies, or policies - based on where you get your information, or what you grew up with (what your parents or relatives, whoever influenced you the most - believed was true). Political conversation is sometimes truth, but most often spin: lies, misdirection and slander which influence people as they judge current events through the lens of their “model” of how the world works. This is how they entrench their opinion of what this country is, was or should be. It’s how they twist, suppress, or promote information which matches their view (their narrative – of what they believe to be true, good and right). Which in their opinion proves opposing views to be wrong, immoral or incorrect. And because of this, in their view should not be adopted locally, statewide or nationally.
Government is different from politics. Politics determines governmental leaders… but is different from government. Webster’s definition of Government – The exercise of authority; direction and restraint exercised over the actions of men in communities, societies or states; the administration of public affairs according to established constitutional laws, or by arbitrary edicts (by those in power). When it comes to Government - there are two kinds of government. Government which provides for the common good (army’s, highways, bridges, fire departments, etc.) and Government which ensures justice – Police and Courts – the Judicial system that ensures the personal safety, security and prosperity of it’s citizenry. Which punishes and removes evil doers who encroach upon the safety and security of others. This system of justice, the protecting of the innocent from the encroachment on their personal safety, security and prosperity by criminals - is disappearing in some parts of this country. Justice is determined by laws – either imposed by a monarch, or passed by a legislature, whose policies and restrictions the public accepts to be governed by. Justice does not need government. In the old days the sheriff (appointed or elected), and their deputies (volunteers or paid) enforced either written law, or commonly accepted law – called ‘Common Law.’ And if a court system existed, it brought to bear the commonly accepted penalty for infractions or encroachments of one citizen upon another. When law enforcement was absent, people enforced their own law. And law breakers were kept somewhat in check by those armed and able to defend themselves or others, to ensure the equitable treatment of everyone. But in reality in society, even a democratic republic such as ours. Laws don’t matter as much as those enforcing the laws. Laws can exist that those in power chose not to enforce, while choosing other laws to enforce fully. Additionally, those in power can also pursue justice for some people, and not for others. This by definition is injustice. But that is the downside of government. The only social entity that can legally take your money without your consent, and put you in prison at their discretion. McDonalds can’t do that… Laws don’t govern people. Governmental Officials, Prosecutors, and Judges govern people. They can pick and choose which laws to enforce or ignore, which people get prosecuted and which people don’t, and the extent of punishments handed down for actual or perceived offenses. No Government or Judicial system is perfect. Up until now, the American System of Justice seems to be the most equitable in human history, providing the greatest fairness and freedoms for it’s citizens. But that is changing. And only time will reveal if this remains to be the case. The story is told that upon exiting the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of government the delegates had created? His answer was immediate. “A republic, if you can keep it.” What was once created, must be maintained. The consent of the governed to this Constitution could easily be hijacked by alternate political philosophies which do not hold to freedom of speech or assembly, the right to bear arms, or the right of it’s citizens to select their leaders. A government exists only until it is replaced. No matter what kind of government it is. And once an increase of power is transferred to the powerholders – they will not easily nor readily relinquish their gains.
So when it comes to the arena of human politics and government… What does God instruct for his people? God’s Word has three principles that direct Christians regarding politics. #1) Pray #2) Know #3) Work First, God says, you’re a temporary citizen here, your real home is heaven, you belong to another Kingdom. But… as a citizen of the United States of America, and therefore a joint steward of this country... as believers in God, we are to occupy with God’s righteousness. Which means love and kindness for others, and justice for evil doers. Any Political conversation you have must be regulated by God’s Word. As his children and his people, we are to Speak the truth in love, Do Not Slander (say nothing harmful, this is the fear of the LORD), and stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Pursue Justice for the widow and the orphan.
What about Jesus? Was Jesus Political? Yes and No. He declined involvement in the political climate of His day. But Jews didn’t get to vote, so he didn’t neglect his moral duty as a citizen of a republic, they weren’t living in one – it was a Roman occupation at that time. In truth - His Kingdom has no end. He will rule and reign as the head of all governments for all of eternity. This is political and social and spiritual. When He was on earth, the Pharisees tried to trap him in His Words, so they could have him arrested. Sending spies to entrap him (Luke 20:21), they said, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. So tell us, Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" The next verse says – Jesus saw through their duplicity - yet He answered them. Luke 20:24 – “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription is on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God. (Jesus didn’t engage in the Jewish Nationalist campaign to rid themselves of the oppression of Rome, even though it was unjust.) He was there for another purpose: To purchase Salvation from sin, for all of mankind.
John 6:14 – After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. They weren’t going to force Jesus to be king, they were going to by force rebel against Rome, to establish Jesus as King, when he was there for another purpose. And He didn’t want them or they families to be killed, so he withdrew. He already was King… just wait, you’ll see.
John 18:33 – Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place. “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.”
So if Jesus declined to enter the political arena of his day, does that mean Christians should not engage in politics? Praying that you listen to tomorrow’s Daily Huddle. Christians and Politics Part 2.
Love you all,
Kelly Kamentz - Jesus follower, husband, father, and friend, helping others surrender time, thoughts, money, and testimony, to fulfill their purpose!