Nothing that follows comes easy to me. I struggle with pride every day I talk politics. Just ask my wife. But if there was ever a time for humility in the church it is today. And so I venture forth with you as one who daily needs to be reminded to address political issues with humility.
I know the political stakes are high. Everyone thinks our country is at a tipping point. We fear that electing the wrong president will tip our country over into the abyss. Understandably, denominational leaders, pastors, Sunday school teachers, and the average church goer are all in a tizzy over this election cycle. Most of us are proclaiming this candidate or that candidate to be our country’s savior. And if people disagree with our divine conclusions, we join with Robert Jefress (Pastor of First Dallas) and denounce our opponents as “fools.” I think things in Christendom are starting to get a little nuts! We need to once again inject some humility into our political discussions.
The Need For Grace
The biblical doctrine of humility demands that we should treat our opponents with grace. Yes, we may all disagree over which candidate to support. We may disagree with each other concerning what role government should play in our society. And these things are important. But at the end of the day, governments do not save us. As Augustine pointed out many years ago, men were never called to subdue and rule each other. Human governments exist to provide order until the King of King returns. They are not eternal.
The gospel is. When we all affirm the same gospel, we have the freedom to lovingly disagree over politics. And as far as I know, being a Cruz, Trump, Rubio, or Kasich supporter does not imply that one serves a different gospel. As weird as this cycle has gotten, there has yet to be a gospel of Trump, Rubio, or Sanders released in LifeWay. Lord willing, there never will be! We can support all these candidates and more and believe that God reigns, that man is fallen, that Christ died to pay for our sins, and that men and women need to respond to Jesus with faith and repentance.
We should not be calling our brothers and sisters in Christ fools, bigots, or any other derogatory term simply because they disagree with us politically. Such attacks are not motivated by Christians charity or by a desire to see God’s glory defended. Such attacks are motived pride. We assume we know God’s plan for the world and are mad that other people fail to recognize our genius. And, we lash out to punish them for their ignorance. There is no way around it. Such verbal assaults are sin.
Need For Humility
In reality, we do not know God’s unrevealed will. And his revealed will? The Bible declares that we are to count others more important than ourselves. Instead of calling our political opponents fools, we need to cook them dinners, send them encouraging notes, and offer to take the kids to the next game. As Thom Rainer says,
This cantankerous and ornery church member is one of those you have pledged to serve
We may have good opinions; we may have good an understanding of what is happening in our nation; and, we may have good ideas how to move the nation forward. But we are not God. We do not know what is best. We do not know what political outcome will bring God the most glory. So as we advocate for our candidate, let’s do so with humility and kindness of heart. We need to advocate for what is best, realizing our opinions are just that, finite opinions! At the end of the day, we are all sinners saved by grace. We all owe everything to Christ even our intellect. God rules! Are we ready to act like it?