An Open Letter To Christians Concerning American Politics

Dear Fellow American Christians,

Let me start out by saying, I have never written anything about politics. Quite honestly, I never thought that I would.  This has been very intentional.  You see, I don’t EVER want differences in political views/opinions to be a reason that someone gets turned away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Because, in my humble opinion, relationship with Jesus is the ONE thing that I think is worth putting my name/reputation on the line for.

Let me be the first to admit, that I haven’t always been a shining example of what a Christian should be.  I am so human (i.e. flawed).  But one thing I do know is that Jesus came to reconcile people like me (sinners) to God. 

He also called his followers to do what sometimes feels like an impossible task.  A mission to LOVE God above all else and to Love people.  ALL PEOPLE!  People who look, and act, and think “just like us” and people who DONT!  People we get along with and people that we don’t particularly care for. If you recall, Jesus very specifically asks believers to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. (Matthew 5:44)

Let me tell you something else about my friend Jesus. He came to bring life, and hope and freedom for ALL people.  He also had this crazy ability to unify and bring people together who would normally NEVER work or associate with one another.

Just look at the fascinating mix of men and women that he had in his close circle of friends. You’ll notice that there were people from completely different sides of the Jewish social and political spectrum of the time.  For example, He had a zealot (an anti-Rome revolutionary) and a tax collector (a Roman sympathizer) within his inner circle of 12 disciples.

He allowed women to sit at his feet and listen/learn from him as he taught (i.e. to be disciples!) which was unheard of in his day. Jesus, an original feminist? (Luke 10:39)

And Jesus wasn’t afraid to associate with people whom others considered unclean, unacceptable, undesirable, off-limits, “less than.”  Sinners.   He did so ALL THE TIME!  You better believe that He invited his disciples to do the same. (Check out all four Gospels!)

OH THAT WE HIS FOLLOWERS WOULD ACTUALLY CHOOSE TO DO THE SAME!

I think it’s really interesting that when Jesus walked the earth, people tried to bait and pull him into political discussions (Mark 12:17).  There were others who wanted to put him on a physical throne (John 6:15).  They had their eyes fixed on earthly power, but Jesus consistently pointed people to a higher power – His Heavenly Father.

So it saddens me when Christians (Evangelical, Orthodox, or anywhere in-between) choose to boldly and brashly align themselves with a particular political party, candidate, or ideology and then claim that somehow “THIS” is what a true Christian should stand for.

THIS is how a Christian should vote.  THIS is how a Christian should think. THIS is the “lesser of two-evils.”  Therefore, the “Christian thing to do” is to put your vote on a ballot next to (fill in the blank), despite the fact that you don’t really approve of the character, values, words or actions displayed by him/her.

 

REALLY?!  Is this what we’ve become?

Because I am pretty sure it never says anywhere in the Bible that followers of Jesus would be known by their political preferences.  Instead, John 13:35 states “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you LOVE one another.”

And for those of you who are not voting for a particular candidate, but rather are concerned about the Judicial Nominees that may be appointed…

May I gently remind you that Supreme Court Justices do NOT have the ability to transform hearts … they cannot save a person’s soul.  But Jesus can.  He died to do just that!

What if, instead of putting so much emphasis and “weight” on a political system (that is obviously imperfect) and politicians who are extremely flawed (they are, after-all, only human) we instead chose to fix our eyes and energy on lifting up the ONE who can actually make an everlasting difference in this world?!

What if instead of lifting up a candidate, we lifted up Christ?!  What if we switched our allegiance from an earthly government to a Heavenly Kingdom?!  What if instead of insulting people with different views, we “made every effort to live in peace with everyone… (Hebrews 12:14).”

What if instead of relying on Congress and Supreme Court Justices to “legislate morality” we chose to live out and share the TRANSFORMING love of Jesus?!  Because the last I read, it was HIS JOB to convict and judge sinners, not ours. (Isaiah 2:4, Matthew 7:1, Revelation 20:12)

What if our misguided zeal for American politics/politicians is turning people away from the very thing that we hold most dear – The saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ?!

Could our eagerness to highlight the scandals of one candidate, while excusing and minimizing the imperfections of another, also be tainting the very reputation of Jesus?

That, my friends, would be a tragedy FAR FAR worse than losing a particular election or some potential presidential nominees!

Do I think there is a place for politics in a believer’s life?  Absolutely. We are called to respect and pray for our leaders (and I would add, whether we agree with them or not). (1 Timonthy 2:1-3).  I also believe that it’s our privilege and responsibility to vote for the people that we think are the best-qualified and most fit for the position they are running for.

But I think that taking it too far beyond that can be a slippery slope.

If this election year has done anything, it has reminded me that HOPE and TRUTH and JUSTICE and GRACE and MERCY and LOVE will never be found in a political party or system or candidate.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, can I encourage us to remember that we are FIRST called to REPRESENT Jesus.  And may we seek to live out the mission that He ACTUALLY entrusted us with: to Love Him and love and care for the people around us.

Let’s not allow the Politics of today, to rob someone from knowing the amazing grace that Jesus wants to offer them both now and forever.

To GOD BE THE GLORY!

Sincerely,

Christy Engelhart

Republican. Democrat. Independent.

Child of God.

 

I would LOVE to hear your feed-back, but ask that all comments be respectful and constructive in nature. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond and PLEASE feel free to share! 

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