In the midst of this contentious and frustrating political season, we need to be reminded of where our true allegiance lies. Charles Butler, our Pastor for Shepherding and Men’s Ministry, has written a post that deserves a wide reading. I personally benefited from its clarion call to civility and respect, and I know you will too. Read it, and if you agree, pass it along to your friends. ~ Pastor Lutzer
Pastor Lutzer recently wrote a blog post titled “On Endorsing Political Candidates,” and ended the post by saying this:
Regardless of who is elected, our next president will inherit a deeply divided and angry country. And in the midst of such hostility, the church stands and says to a broken world, “Let us tell you about a Savior who can reconcile us to God and to one another.”
This election reminds us that the church is still the best hope for the world.
Politics and religion are two topics that tend to generate very emotional conversations. This election has generated some of the most extreme and distasteful rhetoric that I recall in my 39 years of voting. Even among God’s people—even those of us at The Moody Church—the words can become sharp and the positions absolute.
I recently heard a message from Ray Ortlund, Pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, addressing God’s people and the reactions surrounding the current election. He reminded us that Simon the Zealot (Luke 6:15 – a different disciple than Simon Peter) was identified with a group that was vehemently opposed to the presence and authority of the Roman government in the land of Palestine, and which occasionally took action against the government. Also among the Twelve was Matthew the tax collector (Matthew 10:3), a Jew who worked for the Roman government to collect taxes from the Jewish people. At different times, Jesus had said to both of these men, “Follow me.”
Pastor Ortlund went on to describe the scene on the night that Jesus was arrested to be crucified. As He talked with His disciples, Pastor Ortlund imagined Jesus putting one hand on Simon’s shoulder and the other on Matthew’s—these two men whose political views should have made them vicious adversaries—and saying to them, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:12).
Jesus speaks those same words to us in this election season. Our love for one another is of greater importance and higher priority than our allegiance to a political candidate or party. At a time when the citizens of our country are often at one another’s throats, it is critical for us, the people of God, to maintain solidarity with one another by the way we love each other.
Though I may not understand why you see an issue the way you do, Scripture commands us to “be completely humble and gentle; patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2–3, NIV). Consider this: Jesus warns us to leave our gift at the altar and go and be reconciled to our brother or sister that has something against us (which would include harsh words about political positions or candidates) and then come back into His presence. Remember also that, regardless of who is elected, we are commanded to honor that person (1 Peter 2:17) and to pray for him or her (1 Timothy 2:1–4).
Jesus takes our love for one another seriously. Let’s make sure we do the same, so that our prayers are not hindered.