My, how I sometimes want to make a political commentary!
Would you like to know, however, why I *try* not to do that?
I’ve never received [too much] direct flak, but often people’s presumption is that any person ‘ministering’ ought to be willing to tackle questions political as well as spiritual. I’ve been told that if I address not the political I am not being ‘relevant.’
Actually, this is a bit of a misnomer based upon accurate perspective. The accurate perspective is that one ministering should be willing to discuss any issue political or social, and the relevancies of these often overlap spiritual discussion.
In reality, the Gospel is relevant, and always will be, other political, and societal trends and fads will come and go, but the Word of God liveth and abideth forever. It always has the answer, is always relevant, and always does as it says it will do.
As a Christian I try to let my words be unto edification, and not degradation. Yet to be accurate, edification unto what? Edification unto the Gospel of Christ, specifically. This is important to note because if our motivation is merely to speak ‘positively’ all the time, we will fall almost immediately into vanity (by which I mean ‘frivolity’), flattery, and – soon enough without even really meaning to – lies.
So, we speak unto edification, but must also speak the Truth, too many times Christians get these mixed up; because they are trying so hard to be loving and kind we can neglect to speak the Truth (or speak it without much solidarity, apologizing for it out of the left side of our face for stating it with the right). But the scriptures tell us that we are to speak the Truth in love (Eph 4:15).
Will people get offended, and think you are being unloving because you have put the Truth first? Absolutely they will, but if you are right in your own heart it really doesn’t matter what others think, it matters what God thinks. Others don’t really know, anyways, they are generally just basing their perspective on themselves (it is our human default to compare ourselves by ourselves (2 Cor 10:12)).
The prophet Micah described this dynamic:
6 Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame. 7 O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?
It is a little confusing here if you are not familiar with the language; basically, Micah is saying that the people don’t want the prophets to prophesy because the Word of the Lord makes them ashamed of themselves. But he says: ‘Do not my words do GOOD to him that walketh uprightly?’ I.e. Even if I seem to be speaking roughly, I am speaking the Truth, and the upright benefit by it.
Okay – so my basis is speak the Truth in love. In fact, not speaking the Truth is not loving. I’ve sometimes said: ‘telling someone that they are a sinner, and that they are going to go to hell is only cruel if it is not true. If it is True, it is the most loving thing that you can tell them.’ As Ezekiel learned, they are not liable to repent unless you warn them of their coming plight.
Generally how should we, as Christians, speak? The Apostle Peter COMMANDED (yes, an Apostle can command if He does so under the unction of God): If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; (1 Peter 4:11)
So then our speaking, if we speak as Christians ought to be as the oracles of God – as of prophetic utterance, or the Gospel. As the book of Malachi declares: For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. (Mal 2:7) – Now if you are a Christian this passage applies to you, for we are called to be a kingdom of priests (Rev 1:6 & 5:10) (of course it is also doubly True for those who are called into ministry (James 3:1)).
So the world ought to know of any Christian, that they can come and receive a pure, and un-defiled testimony of God from you. Are we not told to be always ready to give an answer to everyone that asks the reason for the hope that is in us? (1 Peter 3:15)
But too often:
10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
Out of the same mouth proceed blessing, and cursing, brothers, this ought not to be! Not only because it is an offense to God, but also it muddies the waters of your testimony. Doth a fountain at the same place bring forth sweet water, and bitter? (v.11)
If 90% of the time we are politically opinionated, and 10% of the time we have something spiritually edifying to say, who is going to listen to us when it matters?
I have seen people who have been in full time ministry fall into the political snare, and speak predominantly adamant political rhetoric most of the time; then they turn around and try to win some soul to Christ. Well, hopefully that person isn’t a democrat who has already discounted everything you have to say because you have just spent so much of your time insulting democrats. Get what I’m saying?
In addition to all that, out there in the media, there are thousands – probably hundreds of thousands – of political agendas, perspectives, and biases being touted. Another issue on this wise, then, is jumping on band-wagons. Not every bit of information out there is accurate, AND most of it is presented in unbalanced ways with biased perspectives – the nations of the world have been perfecting the art of propaganda for decades (it was a bit blatant back in the 40s, but they’ve gotten a bit more subtle since then) – this is all just fleshly, carnal garbage.
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts [if we are preoccupied with temporal issues to the degree that our emotions are stirred up with strife, we could say], glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom [notice he calls it wisdom, even still – you can doubtless be really intellegent in your opinions] descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
I try not to be political first of all because unless I KNOW something for 100% certainty, I ought not to say it – otherwise I could be simply touting someone else’s lie, or agenda. Secondly, even if I know something to be True, is my saying it only going to be detrimental, and unloving? I may know something to be True, but if it is not going to help or benefit someone somehow, then I am just simply touting my knowledge – which is likely, rather to be harmful. (True, if we are not appearing on the stage of discussion, our perspectives are not going to be considered at all, but that’s not the dynamic I am speaking of – we should certainly present ourselves for rational discussions.)
I try not to be political because I notice that Jesus, and the Apostles were very little political. Did Paul appeal to Caesar in order to tell him that slavery was morally wrong, and he ought to give it up? No? (Wait… he didn’t discuss the moral implications of slavery at all, you say (actually, he did – in the book of Philemon specifically, but you’ll notice all his speaking is based out of love and the Truth of the Gospel, rather than the political implications)?!) Did he appeal to Caesar for the sake of any OTHER political agenda? No, it was to preach the Gospel before kings. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was the only agenda on Paul’s political table. Study the life of Paul, watch how he USED politics. He used them ALWAYS to present the Gospel, and to ensure he was free to do so.
We could, on the other hand, use religion to present our political agenda! Uh, oh! Really, this is the pitfall for which I write this post at all.
So then, before I address politics, I try to eat a scroll. Once I have eaten the scroll, I usually find there is a more important message, or that the message can be presented in a more Gospel way than my flesh would typically want to give it. Further, it ought help prevent me from using my ‘religion’ to justify my political opinion (many politicians seem to play the ‘I’m a Christian!’ card for that very reason (that’s not to say they aren’t, just see it for what it is).)
Now, once again, I am not opposed to speaking politically – I have, do… and about the time I write a post about not being political is when I may need to step out and say something about the political:) But here is the standard that Christians should use, as commanded us by the Apostle Peter: ‘if any man speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.’
There are a number of issues which Christians should stand for in the political arena, and issues which we ought to be outspoken about. But it always ought be on the basis of which Kingdom is more important.
I can argue a political agenda for months, or years, and I may even sway some people to accept it, but if I have done nothing for their eternally perishing soul I have wasted the more valuable opportunity – for I read somewhere it is POSSIBLE to gain the whole world, and yet forfeit our soul. Contrariwise, if I am able to save a soul to Christ, that person becomes a new Creation, their minds can then be renewed. They, then come on board with GOD’s agenda (which, hopefully, is the one you were about pushing all the time… RIGHT?). It is the Gospel – not the political agenda – which is the power of God unto salvation; which do you think the church should focus on preaching?
Anyhow… like I said its about the time I post something like this that I find I need to address something political. My point is not to avoid it, but to pick my battles, and be ETERNALLY relevant, rather than to only be relevant with what is happening this week down at the candy-shack (<- was that offensive? :/). And if I say something the goal is for it to be the Word of the Lord; political or otherwise.
Our greatest social/political weapons are repentance and prayer – two things we ought to be doing anyways – for:
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.