During the presidential campaign season, many disagreements arise when discussing politics and how our country should be run. There is much debate, even among Christians. Why do you think this is the case?
The truth is that there is no political party that fully matches God's will, either in their philosophies or core issues - even in the actions they take. The reason for this is that political parties were created by people as a means for people with similar thoughts or beliefs to come together to be represented in the government. By the very nature that these parties were created by people, they are in effect, imperfect.
The challenge for Christians during an election is to try to elect in such a manner that is glorifying to God, keeping Jesus' life and purpose in mind. So does this mean that all Christians are to come to the same political decisions, given that we have God's word (the Bible)?
In 1 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul calls God's people the "Body of Christ." Together, we are to represent Jesus in this world as a unified body. Paul points out that there are different parts of the body, for example, an eye and a hand. They serve different purposes, but without one another, the body is incomplete an unable to complete its task. Likewise, taking another spin on this "body" concept, similar to how there are different parts in the body with different purposes, God often places different burdens on the hearts of his people that, when combined with the rest of his people, make up the sum total of His will in this world. Like the hand and the eye analogy, God blesses some with a deep passion for unborn life (hence, the pro-life emphasis), while others He may bless with the deep burden for the needy - those who cannot help themselves and are abused by society. Still others may have a deep burden for the environment. Each of these burdens are burdens that God has for the world, and they break our hearts.
The problem is that when you put together all of these burdens, you come to realize that there isn't one party that covers all of them. Many Democrats place a high emphasis on building a government that can meet the needs of lower class families, from education to health care and other programs. The idea surrounds scripture passages, such as Deuteronomy 24:17-22 and Luke 14:12-14. Many Republicans place a high emphasis on family values, such as marriage, and sustaining unborn life. This idea comes from passages such as Psalm 139:13-16, Isaiah 46:3-4, and Genesis 2:19-24. As Christians engaged in politics, we often get stuck in the middle, trying to weigh in values in addition to the character of the political candidates.
Unfortunately, along the way, political parties typically lose the most important thing amidst the debates: love. The apostle John writes the following:
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)The most important part about resolving these issues is to have love at the center. That can often be lost or missing.
Since we have been thinking about elections, I want to remind you that you have been elected (2 Timothy 1:8-12). God has elected us to be his representatives in this world and to make the kind of difference that a divided government cannot make. Governments are far from perfect, but can still be used by God. Additionally, God has elected us to be in the midst of this government and this country to make an impact on the issues that are important to him. Together, as Christians, we can break the dividing lines of partisanship and come together to address all of the issues that matter to God, regardless of which party emphasizes them more. With God's help, we can truly make a difference.
Don't forget that you have been elected.