The political season is a test for every believer. In fact, it reveals a great deal about our character, our faith, and our belief system.
Let's start with our character. The vitriol of the election season is harsh, strong, and unkind. Yet, even in the church, between believers, all too often, the tone and tenor of political conversations are no different than on Fox News or CNN. People often say, “Politics is a messy business.” They are right. But we do not need to vilify others or respond in anger. Even in politics, the fruit of the Spirit applies Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
We fail the character test if we cannot discuss issues that divide us with these qualities. It is easy to have the fruit of the Spirit in easy conversations. However, displaying that fruit in challenging discussions is far more critical. Remember, the Holy Spirit is either saddened or gladdened by our attitude in this season.
Then there is the issue of our belief system. Here is the question. Do we believe that our political party or any political party can save us as a nation? If anything can be learned from the Old Testament and God’s interactions with nations, He raises nations and leaders and brings them down when their sin or avoidance of Him becomes too great. A righteous and just government matters greatly, but our political parties cannot save us. I long ago concluded that it matters more who is in my house than who is in the White House.
But the issue of our faith is the most critical question. There is an Old Testament promise that is often quoted but rarely followed. It is God’s promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
If we genuinely believed that promise, we would spend far more time praying for our nation, living in personal righteousness, turning away from sin, and seeking His face in all our practices. And in doing so, we would be confident that God will hear from heaven and that their land would be healed. Why healed? Because every nation has practices and a past that they need healing from. Racism and a history of slavery are wounds from which our country desperately needs healing. Unfortunately, recent days have told us that the wounds are real and raw and that without healing, there will not be reconciliation, justice, or righteousness.
We don’t believe that all people are made in the image of God. Many decry the scourge of abortion in this country. But what do you suppose God thinks about racism, exclusion, and injustice? Yet the church is largely silent on these issues and has married itself to a political party as if people cannot vote for either party and be disciples of Jesus. God is asking us to care about the things He cares about, and He wants us to humble ourselves (yes, as Christian people), truly seek his face, and turn from our sinful ways, and He will heal our land.
This election will not solve our nation's problems. A new Supreme Court justice will not solve them either. Only God can, and it will only be when His people choose to live beyond politics and follow Him and seek what He desires that this nation, or any nation, will be blessed. Healing does not start in the White House. It begins in our house.