It happens every time. I love the freedom I enjoy in America to participate in the process of electing our President and other Governmental representatives but I hate what it usually brings out in people as we head toward the day when we cast our votes.
Too often during this time, Christians also get caught up in the slinging of mud and other childish behaviors that are part of the election year. So as a “CSA,” or “Christian Service Announcement,” I offer the following guidelines and reminders.
1. Presidential elections never give Christians an excuse to behave in an unchristian way. “Politics” is not the area of life in which you are given a “pass” to ignore God’s principles and commands for how we are to treat other people. If you are mean, judgmental and a hot head about a political opponent or topic, you’re still being mean, judgmental and a hot head. It’s not “okay” to do, just because it’s about politics.
We honor and respect our governmental authorities but we ultimately serve a Higher King, anyway – so we all could probably calm down a bit. Of course the issues are important, but so is how we address them: We are followers of Christ, first and foremost.
2. People in other Political Parties are not your enemy. The same people who, before the election season, you were praying for and trying to share the love of Christ with in your community are…well, the same people.
They may see things differently than you in all things political, but you should still love them as Christ loves them. Stop thinking of them as “the bad guys.”
There are people with a different political perspective than you who are also followers of Jesus and who are most likely worshiping with you every weekend.
3. Ephesians 4:29, James 3:10 and a gazillion other verses of Scripture are not nullified in an election year. Here they are, in case they don’t readily come to mind:
Ehesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” ESV
James 3:10 “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” – ESV
Need to defend the truth, you say? Fine. A debate on the issues is necessary, you say? Cool. Just stay respectful, courteous and calm as you do so. How you speak is often as important as what you’re speaking.
Seriously, be careful how you communicate and defend the truth. There’s no need to bring dishonor to the name of Christ by the way you defend Him and certainly no need to do so when defending your political viewpoint.
4. You do not have a license to spread rumors during an election year. View political rumors on Facebook, Twitter and other sites as you would the headlines in the Supermarket checkout line. Always check the source of the story and do not draw wild conclusions based on a random statement you heard was made in a speech to the Lion’s Club or a Barbecue somewhere.
There’s this little thing addressed in Scripture that’s like a million termites in the wall. It’s called, “gossip,” and it’s a pain. It’s also wrong and can cause great harm.
“My grandmother and her dog would be dead if [insert candidate’s name here] had his way! He[or she] hates America!” is the kind of line that most likely has very little, if any truth in it. Don’t pass it along to someone else.
Chew on these verses, instead:
Proverbs 16:28 “A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.” – NLT
Proverbs 18:8 “Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.” – NLT
Proverbs 26:20 “Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.” – NLT
That last one might need to soak in for a minute. But here’s one more:
Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – ESV
Again, we should be very thankful for the freedoms we enjoy in America to participate in the process. Let’s commit to doing so in a God honoring way – wherever and “whenever” we are.