Unity in the Body of…Politics?

It’s no question that this Presidential campaign season has been a rough one. Tensions are high, anxiety is rising, and it’s been hard to watch everything unfold. I’ve been uneasy as I’ve felt the nation’s frustration and fear grow..but more than that, my heart has been heavy as I’ve seen division and bigotry within the Church. The body of Christ. Children of God. Hands and feet of Jesus.

I’ve seen brothers and sisters in Christ get into heated and less-than-gracious arguments with each other via Facebook in the form of fiery comments and politically-loaded posts and shares. I’ve seen name calling and insults replace words good for building up (Ephesians 4:29), and condescension and condemnation instead of speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). And honestly, my silence is no better.

I’m glad that Christians are engaged in politics. I’m glad that Christians care about this nation and who leads it. But I fear that our focus is blurry and our agenda is skewed. I fear that the enemy will use this election to break down our witness by creating a rift between us, by distracting us, by puffing us up with pride and compromising unity in the body of Christ for being “right”.

So what am I saying? Am I saying that Christians that support certain candidates, oppose certain issues, and hold certain values are wrong and morally inferior? Am I saying that Christians that are liberal are heathens or that Christians that are conservative are ignorant and judgmental? No. No, no, no.  I’m not saying that we all need to hold the exact same political views, that we all need to agree on every single issue..because let’s face it, we’re human, we all have our own free will.

But my brothers and sisters in Christ, there is at least one thing we do need to be united on..and that’s the lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives. Understanding that He is our ultimate authority. Knowing that we serve a gracious God who loves us radically – including those who hold different viewpoints from you, including those candidates you think are despicable.

And with that, this necessarily follows – we must unite under one mission. Maybe we’ve forgotten what our mission as the Church is. Our primary mission is not to overthrow the policies that contradict our beliefs. The mission that Jesus left us with is to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). So yes, please, by all means stand up for what you think is Biblically true and correct. But I don’t think it can stop there. It is not enough for us to get certain legal and social policies to adhere to our beliefs if we are not using it as a vehicle or a platform to reach people with the gospel. And when things don’t go in our favor, we must believe that our God is big enough to still be at work in those things. God is sovereign. God is a God of redemption, and He is more than able to take something working against Him and redeem it for His glory.

Perhaps you are pro-life. Perhaps your reasoning for this is well-intentioned – you believe that abortion is taking a life that God has ordained to exist. But I was hit with this question in prayer today – Where are we, Church? Will we be there? If abortion were illegal, would we be there to love the orphans given up by parents who didn’t want them or couldn’t keep them? Would we be there to love the single parent who struggles to provide for their child? Would we be there to love the rape victim who gave birth to a child fathered by their rapist? Would we be there to love the teenager who is disowned by her family for getting pregnant? And I don’t mean “would we love them if they crossed our path?” Because that’s easier. I mean would we go and intentionally seek out these people? And if abortion is legal, will we go love and be there for those who go through the trauma of abortion? Will we make them feel guilty with our theology or will we make them feel unimaginably loved with the gospel? And again, I mean would we go and intentionally seek these people out? I’m not sure. But I know who would – Jesus would.

Perhaps I’m oversimplifying it. My intention is not to make general and sweeping blanket statements. Perhaps this is just a personal revelation. But I have reason to believe we cannot simply just hold political views for the sake of holding them, they must be seen through the lens of our mission to spread the gospel – the good (great, amazing, mind-blowing) news of a God who loved a fallen world so much He humbled and sacrificed Himself for sinners like us, a sinner like me.

And I believe it starts with us – the Church. The body of Christ. Children of God. Hands and feet of Jesus. We must allow ourselves to be united in mission, even if we are unable to be united in politics. We must remember that this nation is not our home – heaven is. We must understand that opposing political parties are not our enemy, but there is a much greater enemy..and that our God is even greater still. Let’s love our God, let’s love our brothers and sisters in Christ, and let’s love the world as a unified body, because there’s much more at stake than just who becomes the next President of the United States.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. // Ephesians 4:31-32

35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” // John 13:35

On a practical note, my dear friends, if you feel you’d rather not vote because you cannot bring yourself to vote for either major party candidate, I read this article shared by a friend that reminded me that there are more options than two. If you feel like you’re being forced to choose “the lesser of two evils”, know that you’re not being forced, you have a choice – that’s the beauty of the privilege to vote.

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