I know there’s a high chance that some folks are going to read this and be offended. Some people might think I am completely wrong. That’s okay. I’ve seen this go on for a long time and it has left a bad taste in my mouth, and so I have felt pressed to write something. If you are a Christian, this is written specifically with you in mind - and if this irritates you, sit with yourself for a bit and ask why. I’m trying my best to come at this from the basis of God’s Word, not my own.
We are living in a time where it seems a large majority of people feel the need to not only tightly align with a political party, but speak out for their respective party. Granted, I will be turning 30 in December, so I haven’t lived long enough to see it all - but I don’t ever remember a time where there was this much activity in politics from this many people, and from all spectrums of life; whether it be approval or frustration of the current reality.
This upward trend of activity has lended itself to people having stronger ties to their choice of political parties. “Strong” might be an understatement though. It seems that the same level of attachment and passion we’ve carried with our favorite sports teams has transferred to the way we approach and engage politics.
And all of this is changes even more when we are talking about people who claim Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Sure, the label “evangelical” has been wildly contorted and contested in the last two years. But I am not talking about labels, I am talking about folks who really say they are Christian.
I am all for being a good citizen.
I am grateful for this country, even with its flaws.
I abide by the laws and respect the government.
I am also all for knowing what’s going on in the world.
I watch news clips and read articles every now and then.
I think it’s important to be aware of our current reality.
And to be active in the area of social injustices.
But here is what I find alarming, and more importantly, grievously misaligned with the Kingdom of God.
It seems to me, by what I have observed, that some Christians have mistaken engagement with allegiance. They are not one in the same.
Engagement in the world is different than allegiance to this world.
The Bible is chalked full of wisdom to how we, as Christians, are to walk in this world; being people who are sent as missionaries to show off the glory and love of Jesus. But again, engaging in this world for the sake of showing off Jesus is vastly different than pledging allegiance to this world, and using Jesus to back our own agendas. It just doesn’t work.
That is why Paul says in Philippians 3:20 “but our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ”. Paul intended for his readers to understand that their first and only allegiance is to Jesus, not to their nation or party. You are an exile, this is not your home - and that means something very practical.
So what does this mean for us in 2018?
Well, for starters (and this is the one thing that sparked this blog for me) our social media posting should represent what we align with the most. Sadly, I think it does, and it is showing a watching world that though we might claim Jesus, we care more about defending our party and attacking what’s wrong in the other. Or even more alarming, we might somehow believe that our party is the party Jesus associates with the most.
Christian, it may be that your passions are disordered.
Certainly you can not be more interested in defending your party than you are in being a life-giving witness of the grace of Jesus. Certainly you do not think that arguing over Facebook about what the left or right is and isn’t doing can be an effective way to love your neighbor. Certainly you cannot be more frustrated and outraged about a political headline in the news than you are over your own sin.
I urge you, Christian, consider your citizenship, consider how it may change the way you engage in this world. It would be a better investment of your energy and time to turn off CNN or Fox News or whatever you watch, and invite someone over for dinner - maybe even someone who you disagree with.
While you may pay taxes to the government, you worship Jesus, while you may live in America, your home is in Heaven. Things should be different, our passions should be reoriented, and the world should be able to tell.
This isn’t a call to not care at all. This is just a call to care more about God’s Kingdom than this one. Don’t stop pledging your allegiance. Just make sure your pledging to the better Kingdom with a better King.