By Pastor Troy Dorrell
America’s moral and ethical decline is a spiritual problem and not a political one. The fabric of our culture has changed as our nation’s Christian capital has diminished and the worldly values of consumerism, feminism, pluralism, and egalitarianism have taken hold. To think we can combat these philosophies and change people’s hearts and attitudes through political agenda is both naive and misguided. As a matter of fact the more we try to coerce people or force our values upon them – minus a change in their hearts – the more entrenched and adversarial they become, as is evidenced in all the conservatism verses liberal rhetoric.
Today, things are more hateful and mean spirited in America’s political climate than ever before. In our frustration, it is easy for us to get caught up in this and lose sight of our real agenda and purpose as Christians. Ephesians 6:12 says, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. There lies our battleground: the spiritual dimension and the strongholds that hold people’s hearts.
If we are not careful, we can begin to view the homosexuals, the liberals, the feminists, and others who obviously don’t know Christ as our enemies. However, these are the people Jesus came to save. There is a truth we are reminded of in 1 Corinthians 5:9-10 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators; yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. The people who often hold differing political views than we do are the very ones to whom we are called upon to show the love of Christ and are not helped by a steady stream of vitriolic political angry rhetoric.
I am not arguing that Christians should not be involved in politics. On the contrary, all of us need to vote, to express our views with grace, and to run for office where we feel called to. I am just issuing a caution against placing our hope in a candidate or political party more than trying to change our nation through evangelism and the love of God. We are called upon to be salt and light, not political conservatives. We are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (I Peter 2:9).
If we would focus more of our heart’s attention on this calling, we might actually accomplish more. My heart and my family were changed by a relationship with Jesus Christ, not legislation or laws. My worldview is informed by the Bible, not a political platform.
We can’t protect or expand the cause of Christ through political means; those before us who have tried have failed miserably. Trying to “Christianize” America through means not ordained by God will have anill effect. Making unsaved people live like saved people only hardens theirhearts and makes them more difficult to win to Christ. A politicized faith not only blurs our priorities, but confuses those we are trying to reach with the gospel. There simply is not one solitary example in the Bible of political activism being advocated or exercised by the people of God. So, what can we do? How do we save our nation and do what we can to change the course of American culture.
- We can pray. 2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Unlike political activism, the Bible is filled with the power and example of prayer to effect change. If we are doing more complaining about America than we are praying for her, then we need to make a serious correction. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
- We can be humble. The second part of the above verse has to do with looking within rather than without. While it was true Sodom and Gomorrah received judgment for their wicked sins; that judgment didn’t fall until 10 righteous people couldn’t be found. Before we cast stones at others, let’s make sure our hearts are right and we are living for the Lord with all of our hearts.
- Offer practical help and intervention. If you are concerned about abortion – for example – find a way to serve, intervene through a ministry, volunteer in counseling.
Proverbs 24:11 If thou forebear to deliver them that are drawn unto death,and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, behold we knew it not;doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? Yes, supporting legislation and candidates who oppose abortion is important, as is actually doing something personally about it.
- Be politically active. I am not contradicting myself here. I do believe we have a responsibility to vote, support candidates with our values, and express our views. I just see that differently that being an activist. It’s a matter of hope, priorities, faith, and personal involvement in God’s work versus giving too much time, frustration, and negative verbiage and attitude to politics. Nehemiah, Ester, and Daniel all petitioned their kings and took appropriate stands. However, their hope was in God, and that was always clear. Petitioning is a biblical example, in contrast to protesting. Christians petition with a right heart; zealots and activist protest in a way that only divides.
- Finally, we need to proclaim the Gospel. Our main calling and greatest gift and contribution in this world is to share the love of God and the gift of salvation with a lost world. As Christians, we need to keep our hearts, minds, priorities and energy firmly fixed on the Kingdom of God and the proclamation of His good news. We are citizens of heaven first and foremost , our greatest allegiance lies there. That allegiance should be reflected in our actions, our attitudes, our hope, and spirit. To be concerned with this world is one thing. However, to be preoccupied with it is to marginalize our first love and to express way too little faith in what God can do through us through His appointed means to change the world.