Politics and religion are probably the top two hot button topics in our culture. If you bring one of them up, you are almost guaranteed to start the ball rolling toward hurt feelings, offense and explosions. Ouch! Nobody likes that!
That is why it seems reasonable to avoid politics. As fallen people, there will always be some way we can mess it up. So why bother? Why shouldn’t we just stick to our own business and drop politics altogether? Because that would be a terrible mistake.
As Christians it is our duty to live out our faith by following God in every area of our lives–including politics. In fact, if we don’t, we will be guilty of turning a blind eye to wickedness. Without the principles of the Bible, a truly just government is impossible. Where Godly character is missing, wickedness fills the gap.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
-John F. Kennedy
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” -John Adams
Yet even though politics is something we should do, it is not always easy to do it right. We want to show others the truth, but we don’t want to offend them because we were rude. So how can we as Christians engage in politics while also avoiding explosions? The answer is simpler than you may think.
1. Love Others
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” -Matthew 22:37-40
If we care about others like God does, and not just about ourselves, then it will change not only our political views, but the way we talk about politics too. It doesn’t matter how good, just, helpful or right an idea may be–if we present it in a rude, unloving way it will not honor God or do any good. All of God’s law revolves around love. So it only makes sense that our politics should revolve around love too. Everything about the way we handle politics, from our stance on an issue to the tone of voice we use, should show that we truly care about others.
2. Speak With Grace.
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. -Colossians 4:6
We should always handle politics in a way that honors others and guides people to the truth, not turns them off. If we love others, we want them to know the truth. But we won’t rub it in their face. We’ll graciously take notice of their heart, and humbly show where their position is flawed. When we share the truth in a graceful way, by calmly pointing out other’s mistakes and refusing to accuse our opponents unfairly, we have a greater chance of successfully guiding people to the truth. Sharing the truth is what really matters after all, not winning the debate.
3. Be A Peacemaker.
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. -Romans 12:18
God calls us to do everything we can to get along with others. Sometimes that’s hard to do when it comes to politics. Lots of different angles to each issue can make it hard for even well-meaning people to agree. Bringing peace to a political discussion may not be easy, but we need to at least try, whether that means just having a good attitude, or delicately addressing where both sides of the issue are off. If someone really wants to be offended, they will. Your business is making sure that you do everything within your power to practice peace.
While it may not always be easy to have a meaningful conversation about politics without getting mad, it is possible. As humans made in God’s image, we are built to communicate truth. We are able to do that, even with tricky subjects like politics, when we genuinely care for others, speak with grace, and strive to bring peace. You really can engage in politics, even if you’re just kid! It doesn’t have to end in an explosion.
Talking politics without explosions is really very simple. But sometimes it’s tricky learning how to actually do it. Knowing how to do it in theory is one thing, but actually doing it is a whole other thing. Throughout this series I’m going to show you some specific tips and techniques to help you put this theory into action. I hope that this series will help you find the courage to give politics a try. You might just find that you love it.