Words can hurt, and words can heal. We all have political opinions. I know I have been vocal about my stance on specific political figures. I appreciate the freedom to use a platform. I realize that voicing support (depending on how it is done) for one candidate over another can cause bitterness. It becomes increasingly difficult to disagree lovingly. Words can tear us apart.
I backed off political postings even before the election. I realized that I am an ambassador of another Kingdom and His politics are not those of Americans. I understand that we are not a Christian nation. President Eisenhower may have encouraged the imprint of U.S. money to state “one nation under God.” But, this does not make a nation – Christian. Not every American has faith in Yahweh or Jesus. One’s god may be Mohammad, or Buddha, or money, or power, or a man, or a woman. What we spend the most time talking about is most likely our object of worship. I certainly do not want to communicate that I believe any man or woman can save us, heal us, or restore us.
I do not believe that God selected Joe Biden to be our current President any more than I think He chose Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, or any of the former Presidents to lead. We, the people, voted, and victories for these men resulted. God accommodated our wishes. He’s done that for centuries. Since the beginning of time, when we reached for the fruit that wasn’t meant for us, He allowed it, and we lost paradise. God allowed Israel to have kings though He disapproved. He doesn’t puppeteer us – He is much too loving to command our every move. He does, however, rescue us.
God delivered us with Jesus and the new covenant. It saddens me that so many folks stay stuck in the old. After all, new wine cannot be placed in old wineskins. Those laws aren’t ours – those promises aren’t either. Remember, Jesus, fulfilled all that stuff. He was the only one left at the transfiguration. The law and the prophets were no longer applicable. God pretty much said, “listen to my son – He is the new way.”
The Pharisees had a most difficult time with Jesus’ teachings. Sometimes, we do too. The Pharisees could deal with laws because laws set the bar low. But love – love costs everything. Love means that you not only have to stay faithful to your spouse, but you need to treat them with compassion, respect, and dignity. Love says you can’t murder someone, and you need to keep your anger and indignation at bay. Love involves serving your enemy. Love means you must not steal or covet, and you are encouraged to give and desire others to have more. Paul laid out love in 1 Corinthians 13, not for brides and grooms, but the bride of Christ. It is the language of New Covenant love. Love always requires more.
Followers of Jesus should joyfully pray for our leaders of the past, present, and future. And, of course, pray for our country. We must draw the line at considering Jesus an American as it is with fair certainty that I assume He does not identify as such. His broken image-bearers live all over the world. We would be presumptuous to expect being blessed with sacred parking spots at the mall while a child dies in a third world country. I cannot accept that pain is His will for one and prosperity for another. It is a global dance with dysfunction in a broken world.
It is a challenging gratitude of “warm fuzziness” that I have for living in America. When one is born here, it is easy to take for granted our freedoms and comforts. It becomes easier to tell someone to “pull themselves up with their bootstraps” if they have boots. The truth is that most of us don’t have a clue what real poverty looks like or what complete desperation feels like. I’m pointing my finger at myself here – the epitome of indulgences. And while I believe in a strong work ethic and creative enterprise, I realize that many have no basis for the first and no leeway or backing for the second. So, while you and I may completely agree that America is a pretty great place to live, we may not see eye to eye on “America First” and the equality of patriotism with Christianity. I don’t say this because I adhere to a socialist movement. I cling to the Jesus movement. And I can say affirmatively that the politics of Jesus are not about this or any other country’s power standing. I hold firm that He is not the Lord of violence, but God who carries the sword of His word in His mouth. He is the sacrificial lamb who laid down His life while letting Pilate know – it was His to give, not theirs to take. He shows great authority with complete humility. And when our focus is to bring His kingdom to earth – the entire world wins. We do not become first – we become whole.