Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Fruits of the Politicians

It is less than one month until Election Day.  On that day, we citizens of the United States will cast our votes (if we haven't already) for who we want to be President of the United States.  We will stay up late into the night to find out the results, after which some people will celebrate and others will be sad, angry, or even enraged.

We will be a country divided, focused on the way that this country and this world is run, forgetting that Jesus' kingdom is not of this world.  We will have people gloating about the winner, forgetting that Jesus won not by popularity, but by death.  We will feel happy and smug to be a part of the "in crowd" of winners, and point at those losers who are in the "out crowd", forgetting that Jesus came to unite the nations of the world into one people as his disciples.

And Christians will be participating in this right along with everyone else.

And I what we will be participating in (not the voting itself, but the aftermath) a good representation of the new command that Jesus gave?  Is what we are doing now, leading up to the election, representative of this command that we are supposed to follow?
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. --John 13:34-35
When election day comes, and perhaps even more importantly, in these last days leading up to it, examine yourself.  Are your political views used in a loving way towards others?  What is being bred from discussions?  When you have a political opponent (be it a politician, a friend, a relative, a coworker, a fellow church member, etc.), do you love that person?
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  --1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Are you patient with those people with whom you disagree?  Are you kind to them?   Do you boast about the successes of your party and its candidates?  Are you arrogant when you think you are correct about a position or candidate?  Are you rude to those who think differently than you?  

Are the politicians that you support loving?  In a country where a great many people are Christians, and where a great many politicians also claim to be Christians, do we see some of the signs of what a Christian is in those politicians, and in ourselves when we get so consumed by politics?
Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your neighbor, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' while the log is in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye. --Matthew 7:3-5
We are fantastic about pointing out what the other party has done and currently does wrong, but can we see it in our own party and candidates?
In our political discussions in person, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on blogs, is the Spirit present?  Do we see these fruits in our own actions and in the actions of those we support?
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.   --Galatians 5:22-23
If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. --Galatians 5:25
Don't be too quick to answer, but think deeply about it.  If the answer to all--or any--of these is no, then perhaps we need to be introspective and ask ourselves why.  Perhaps we need to start living out the faith that is so easy to talk about.  Perhaps we need to repent.  

On Election Day, there are churches around the country that will be participating in Election Day Communion.  One of the goals of this is:
We’ll remember that real power in this world — the power to save, to transform, to change — ultimately rests not in political parties or presidents or protests but in the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus.
So maybe, on Election Day, instead of anxiously awaiting results, find an Election Day Communion church and join them for this sacred meal.  If there isn't one near you, gather together with friends of both parties in your home and have a simple meal with bread and wine or grape juice and pray together.  And as the results roll in, no matter what they are, remember this:

"...let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body..."
--Colossians 3:15


John Stonecypher (Shack Bible) said...

Loving my neighbor in an election year--that's been my big experiment with 2012. I've been refusing to let myself get worked up, or to let PACs convince me to doubt the intelligence, sanity, and goodness of my friends and neighbors. It's been a good year!

Kelly J Youngblood said...

Part of what keeps me from getting worked up is I don't watch tv. I pretty much only see what friends of both parties post (I'm quite independent; never have been affiliated with any party).