Hate thy neighbor: Faith in an election cycle

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If there is one scripture in the secular political bible, it is “hate thy neighbor.” The result of generations of identity politics is a nation divided—exactly as intended.

For people of faith, the role we should play in the American political scene has never been more confusing and, to many, never been as important. No matter which spot you occupy on the political spectrum, a believer should be led by their faith first.

What is a Christian to do when no candidate clearly reflects the values espoused by Christ?

Sadly, Christians have gone to great effort to create their own Jesus who agrees with them on the issues they care about. For many on the left, Jesus was a radical socialist who affirms their own desires to create expensive social programs and raise taxes. For many on the right, our nation was founded as a Christian refuge from the world and the only way to avoid apocalypse is to elect someone who will put God back into wherever they believe he has been removed from. Both are delusional.

Jesus never had much to say about politics, but he was not completely silent on the subject.

Some use Mark 12:17 to suggest that Jesus supported taxation and take this verse—out of context—to argue in favor of high taxes and government programs. Jesus never actually suggested government should feed the hungry, clothe the naked, or care for the sick. He said that was your job. He certainly never advocated stealing money from others to do it. When he asked the Pharisees to see the denarius coin, it contained an engraving of Tiberius proclaiming the emperor to be the son of god and the prince of peace. If he was suggesting taxes were great, his audience missed the point. One of the charges they raised against him in his trial was his opposition to the very same tax.

When he appeared before Pilate, he didn’t speak much until Pilate reminded him that he had the authority to crucify him or set him free. Jesus replied “You would have no authority over Me unless it were given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed Me over to you is guilty of greater sin” (John 19:11).

Scripture tells us that all leaders receive their authority to govern from God (Romans 13:1). No president, king, prime minister, or dictator has ever led any nation without God allowing him or her to assume power. It’s called sovereignty.

It is not the role of the voter to pick the “most Christian” candidate or to vote for the “lesser evil.” Your role as a believer is specifically defined in scripture. You are to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4) and you are to be good citizens (1 Peter 2:13). You are to obey the laws (Romans 13:1-8). Your role is to do good, be a good witness to your faith, and to “give to God what is God’s.”

Government is not God and it never does Godly things. God uses political leaders for his purpose, even though they do not do good things. Government cannot take Jesus out of your heart and mind. Only you can do that. This season, avoid the divisiveness and the “hate thy neighbor” rhetoric of the power hungry politicians.

Vote for the things you believe are right and know that God is sovereign. Anything less is a lack of faith.

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