First I need to offer my sincere apologies to all those who have opted to follow papaswords.com. I have had a challenging year and my weekly posts have become monthly or longer. I’m humbled that people choose to read my blog and I will try to do better.
This morning a disgruntled American citizen open fired on a congressional baseball practice session, according to eyewitnesses, simply because of their political affiliation. This prompted me to post about something I’ve been examining for some time now. If you are a reader of In My Own Words you know my feelings and views on the polarization of politics, especially among followers of Christ. The degree to which we espouse our angst to those who believe differently than us in all things social and political is borderline sinful. I have never witnessed the depth of this polarization, nor felt it so personally as I did during this last Presidential campaign. I simply could not reconcile in my spirit how eternal siblings who share in the same blessed hope could be so adamant and vicious toward one another. After giving it much contemplation and going back to the Word I think I have a possible explanation.
In essence it boils down to the difference between belief and faith. Belief is the acceptance that something is possible; faith however is taking the appropriate steps with the conviction that the something WILL happen. It is one thing to sing God is Able on Sunday morning-it’s quite another to live it out Monday through Saturday. How does this apply to politics? We say we believe in God’s ability to meet our needs, to provide our “daily bread” but we give that power, our faith to a Government and expect them to act on God’s behest. There is a valid reason why scripture says you can not serve both God and money.
In my humble opinion most every political conviction boils down to a single common denominator-money, or more precisely, how will this policy affect my wallet. If your single issue is healthcare, your overriding concern is money-how to pay for medical expenses. If your issue is taxes, your core concern is how much money you get to keep. If economy, then money; if Trade, then money; if social welfare, then money; if jobs creation then money; if education then earning potential, i.e. money. Virtually every voter issue comes down to as the bottom line, our financial welfare.
Seeing this I wondered if maybe I had missed something in scripture that might somehow support the notion that the government would supply all my needs. So I went back and did some study and sure enough, there it was. In fifty or so years of Bible reading I had somehow missed these verses. So for those like me who may also have overlooked the obvious I wanted to share a few with you that may explain the degree of passion held by our brothers and sisters in Christ when it comes to politics.
“And my government shall supply all your needs according to their riches in Washington”
“Therefore don’t be anxious about what you will eat or drink or wear. For your government knows that you need them all”
“If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your congressman who is in Washington give good things to those who ask”
“Consider the ravens; they neither sow nor reap or have a storehouse or barn, and yet the EPA feeds them”
“The young lions suffer want and hunger but those who seek the President lack no good thing”
“And the Senate is able to make all grace abound to you so that you may abound in every good work”
“For I know the plans we made for you, says the government, plans for welfare and to give you a future and a hope”
Of course anyone who claims to be a student of the Bible is familiar with these passages and knows that this is not how they read. But to witness the vile that comes from within the church during a heated political debate or pending election, or the responses to tragedies like the shooting this morning as if they are somehow justifiable due to the current political climate, one on the outside looking in would have to question the validity of our core convictions in a God who has promised us all good things but a response that would indicate we’ve given our proxy of faith to a government to do His bidding. It is one thing to be socially aware and concerned about civic policy and the potential positive or negative impact it may have on a block of voters. Although I no longer engage in political banter I fully support all citizens rights to voice opinions and peacefully engage in the democratic process. It is entirely another matter, however, when a follower and joint heir of Christ becomes so worked up or opinionated politically that their witness as a believer is damaged and our true allegiance and convictions are called into question. The diversity of social or economic experience should in no way compromise the belief in a God to supply our needs, regardless of whether the current administration is red or blue, left or right.
Can you imagine the positive impact believers could have on society if we attacked social ills like hunger and homelessness with the same passion we attack each other over political differences? What if we, for example, instead of picketing over healthcare, we volunteered one day per week in a local hospital or clinic? What if instead of bashing current welfare policy we worked in the food pantries or missions in our neighborhoods? What if we volunteered as teacher aides or assistant coaches in our schools instead of protesting educational reform? The point here is rather than demanding our leaders to make a change in policy, we should be willing to engage and BE the change we are seeking of others. This is the heart of the great commission, the essence of “Love thy neighbor” and the resolve of “My GOD shall supply all my needs”.
We who are privileged to be called children of God owe our families and our communities much better than the secular displays of political partisanship we are offering. “By this will all men know the you are my disciples, that you love one another (not that you vote Democrat or Republican)”. My prayer is that through my actions I can affect change that is lasting, one that outlives the current makeup of the Washington D.C. machine. God show us a better way!