On the eve of the midterm elections we have to check our hearts. I don’t know about you, but the vitriol stirred up by factions across our land, threatening to divide our Union, frightens me. Political vitriol, cruel and bitter criticism, has reached a precarious level in our country, pitting friends against friends, and family members against each other. But God.
In a time of screaming voices spewing accusations, how would Jesus want us to live? As Christ followers we have a sure mandate in the scriptures. The Lord’s words ring out loud and clear: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39.
Since we are redeemed by Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, forgiven of our sins and filled by His Holy Spirit, we are to shine like stars in a crooked and depraved generation (Philippians 2:15). We are called to love others despite their political persuasion, to pray for their best and forgive when necessary. Our purpose is to show forth God’s Grace by living as Jesus did. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
Nothing about this mandate is easy. It requires self-sacrifice and the willingness to love when confronted with hate. Praise God it doesn’t depend on our own efforts, but is the work of the Holy Spirit in and through us! Last Sunday, our Pastor recapped the simplicity of Christ’s example for our lives: the Gospel tells us to Love, Serve and Forgive.
If we love Jesus we will want to please Him. By setting our wills to obey His commands we can tap into His Holy Spirit’s power to live them out.
Remember that love covers a multitude of sins! When confronted with anger or accusation, don’t retaliate harshly. Fasten your holy armor and use the shield of faith to deflect that which is not of God (Ephesians 6:13-18). Pray for those who see themselves as your enemies. Pray for God to work in the situation and to fortify your resolve to be at peace with all men. Christians should be known for their love, gentleness, and reasoned response rather than inflammatory rhetoric.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I have deep convictions about the state of our country and the political forces in play. But I make the choice to be at peace with those who don’t agree with my perspective, praying and hoping for common ground. This is possible because I trust in a sovereign God who has ultimate control over the affairs of mankind, and in whose Hands lies the future of all nations.
It dawns on me that PEOPLE are more important than politics, possessions, or power. In fact, the only thing of eternal value is the soul of our fellow man. So, join me in loving, serving and forgiving. Let’s pray for one another that God’s Grace will make all the difference in our lives.
No matter who our earthly leaders are, Jesus Christ is Lord of all!