As I was perusing my Facebook news feed this evening, I came across a link to a news article concerning Billy Graham’s endorsement of Mitt Romney and the subsequent removal of a web page from Graham’s ministry’s site that labeled Mormonism as a cult. And while there is much that can be said about Graham and the questionable actions of his latter years, the article prompted me more to think of what we as Christians, both individually and collectively, are willing to surrender for the sake of politics and the governments of this world than it did to begin an internal diatribe against the formerly revered Reverend Graham.
Consider this with me: On what subject in this world is their more contention between persons than politics? If there is none greater (save perhaps religion), on what subject is their more contention between Christians than politics? As for myself, I have found in my experience that there is none greater than politics between like-minded Christians. I have countless friends with whom I stand in almost total agreement theologically, but when it comes to the subject of politics, we could argue and debate all the day long.
Why is that?
Perhaps it’s ignorance or a lack of understanding on my part (or perhaps on another’s), perhaps it’s that we don’t have all the information on which to build a sound political theory, or perhaps (just throwing it out there) there is no right solution. For if we were to stand back and look at all the political theories in their purist, unadulterated forms, we would all have to admit that each has its merits and each has its flaws. Thus, in essence, each political theory puts us all in the position that we would wish to avoid, namely choosing the lesser of a number of evils.
For, as Christians, we all must hold that there is no perfect government aside from the Kingdom of Christ, and while we can aspire to organize government in such a way that it manages the evil of men and promotes fairness to all of its citizens to the highest degree, it will never be perfectly good and just. And if we were to establish a government that did attain to the highest possible degree of justice and equality in this world, it would mutate and crumble just as quickly as our own American government has mutated and crumbled since its establishment.
This reality by necessity forces us as Christians to consider our calling and our place in this world and the lengths to which we are willing to go to fight for a type of government in our time. When I consider my own life—the views that I’ve championed and the debates in which I’ve engaged—can I stand unashamed before Christ knowing that I have conducted myself in a way that is honoring to him and promotes the Kingdom that he is about? Have I endured those with whom I strongly disagree with patience, kindness, gentleness, and humility not merely for the sake of honoring Christ, but also because my disagreements are very likely based upon opinion and upbringing more than they are on truth and righteousness? When it comes to the subject of politics, I can scarcely say that I have conducted myself in the way that I ought, and I fear the passion about particular political convictions that would sway me away from the Lord’s calling on me.
As my pastor is preaching through the beatitudes in Matthew, I am continually being convicted about the inclinations of my heart in all areas of my life, especially in politics during this particular season. Am I poor in spirit and walking in humility? Am I mourning over my own failings, or am I rejoicing over the failings of others? Do I seek to be a peacemaker, or do I stir up strife or make unnecessary challenges to others on matters of temporal opinions? Do I seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, or am I so invested in the things of this world that I have no time to think upon or to consider the one Kingdom which we be ruled with perfect justice, equity, and righteousness?
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God (Matt. 5:9).