alrighty, popping back on social media for my one and only political post before this election. i will aim to be well balanced because this isn’t about choosing sides. beware, this is a bit of a novel (tldr). I do this only as a charge to the Church, my dear brothers and sisters in the faith. and to remind us that we will not stand before a president on judgment day but to God Himself, and He will hold us accountable for every word we’ve said and every deed we’ve committed (yes, this includes our presidential votes even to some degree as you will soon read about).
Christ loves His bride, more than anything. He would do anything (oh wait, He already did) to see His people be united in harmony and peace, especially so that the a world of chaos and division might be grafted in to the family of God. Jesus cares how you go about sharing your political agenda because your words and conduct affect others. He cares about the motive of your heart when you choose someone to vote for because that motive affects others. if you’re born again, it’s our new disposition to love our neighbors by not thinking through the laidback lens of intent (what I mean to say) but through the intentional caring lens of impact (how will what I say affect someone else regardless of why I’m saying it). and trust me, it requires much more genuine love, self control and killing of self to strive for the latter.
I’m not going to stoop down to the level of some who have the audacity to say, “you’re not saved if you vote for _______”. that might be the most polarizing, divisive, and arrogant comment I’ve ever heard and the Church is suffering because of it. but as a charge to my family in Christ, here’s what I am willing to say. rather than focusing solely on who the other voted for, let’s focus on the heart issues behind who we vote for because that will reveal our love or lack thereof for God and others. Jesus demonstrated in how He approached humans that its not so much the action, but what lies behind it.
Id urge us to not shy away from these conversations but to approach them with love, gentleness and patience. these are tough grey matters that Jesus cares about. “but Ryan, I’m a Christian who doesn’t get into politics.” to which I would say, I’m sorry but that’s an oxymoron, and here’s why. politics and politicians have either adverse or conducive implications, direct and sometimes immediate implications, on policies. and as I was taught in undergraduate social work school- policies affect people, especially those who are less fortunate, thus having less access and control of what policies are in place either improving or ruining their quality of living. so if you claim to know and love Christ which means you make it your life’s work to love others as yourself then you will undoubtedly be interested and/or involved in politics to some degree or another. otherwise, it’s plausible you’re living out a double standard. trust me, Martin Luther King didn’t do what he did just as a political statement. his faith had everything to do with his life’s work of fighting for equal rights.
so, those tough questions I mentioned before, let’s chat about a few as examples as it pertains to both primary candidates. here’s one: if you vote for Trump, I expect you as a Christ follower to be able to answer a question that Trump did not answer in a godly loving fashion. if I asked you, “do you renounce white supremacy?” what would you say? i sure hope for your sake that you would not avoid the question and say “proud boys stand by”. i sure hope your understanding of scripture is clear about having compassion for the oppressed, defenseless, impoverished, prisoner, and refugee. i hope you take the time to zip your tongue, learn and listen, to hear the struggle that you never had to endure when the cards are stacked up against you in society because of the color of your skin. and I hope that if you are aware of your privilege that you gladly lay it down in the interest of others the same way our Savior laid down His divine right for the sake of those He came to serve and save. i hope you speak out loudly against any vitriol and condemn it for what it is: hate speech. i hope you make it abundantly clear to those around you that you will not sit idly by in agreement with your president but instead will renounce his words that lack any and all acknowledgment for the dignity and value of so many (especially the black and brown community. (For what it’s worth, I recently signed a joint American evangelical statement renouncing Trump’s ungodly character just so you know I’m not asking you to do anything I haven’t already done).
lastly, because I’ve been hearing this a lot in Christian circles of family and friends [why can’t you just look past what he says and how he acts and focus on his policies and performance], let’s address it. this is important. because Christian, no you can not just look past Trump’s immoral behavior and indecent language. we cannot give him a free pass in his speech as long as he keeps unemployment rates low. here’s why: “Life and death are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). stakes are high when any of us speak. the letter of James reminds us that the tongue is like the small rudder of a ship. small but powerful. a great forest is set on fire by a small spark, scripture says. so Christian, when you bypass Trump’s wickedness in his speech you are in fact stating you’re okay with him speaking death upon those he chooses to tear down. you’re stating you’re okay with him setting our country on fire (quite literally if you know what I mean) from his very words. this cannot be. where is the love for your neighbor in that? from my vantage point, the reason his words don’t bother some Christians as much as they should is because, well frankly, we’re not the targeted victims in fear when someone says, “white supremacists sit back and stand by”. if you’re white when this sort of thing is declared, suffice to say you’re pretty safe. and that’s why white evangelicals in Trumps camp are the ones often being labeled racists.
okay, switching gears with my examples. if you vote for Biden, I expect your heart to be the complete opposite of one that is complicit with not fighting explicitly and vehemently against the continual abomination of mass genocide of unborn babies. in addition, Biden’s running mate Senator Harris is more extreme than even the average pro-choicer. in 2019, she voted against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act; A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion. as a believer, you should understand the sacredness of life; of being image bearers. life is not something petty to be messed around with. you understand that as a disciple of Jesus, knowing His Word, our bodies are not our own. they were bought with a heavy price. so “my body my choice” is not the outcry of someone who professes Jesus as Lord. again, oxymoron. to even fathom considering that assassinating Imago Dei by the voiceless millions is not something to be outraged about, is at the very least concerning to me.
i can see why people might get upset over “one-issue voters”; some Christians who won’t vote for Biden over this one issue. but in all fairness, I currently don’t blame people that much for being one-issue voters over abortion because it doesn’t measure even close with the severity of something like climate change. we are talking human life which supersedes the environment. however, that being side, i completely acknowledge I have a lot to learn about healthcare and it’s impact on the issue. i acknowledge that it is naïve to believe that voting a particular Republican president will magically save our unborn babies. i watched a short informative video recently found here that challenged me in my prior uninformed assumptions. however, my stance has not changed because the video also provides statistics of the lives that are nonetheless still saved by voting in a pro-life presidential candidate, and even one life is worth saving. i also acknowledge that if you claim pro-life that better show for those who are born (specifically the aforementioned vulnerable people groups). Christians are largely to blame for having a double standard in this area.
to be honest, since some readers may already be wondering this by this point, I am largely and primarily not voting for Biden myself due to this major issue. and I won’t bypass the severity of it for the sake of getting Trump out of office either (plot twist, I didn’t vote for him as well).
there’s many more examples I could provide in regards to either candidate. but in case you got lost in all that, let me reiterate why I wrote this piece in the first place. Christian- the spirit who dwells in you testifies to the truth. Jesus is the truth. the spirit leads you to Jesus. always. and when we encounter Jesus, the same thing that happened to others who He interacted with in His earthly ministry happens to us: self-reproach. we are met by a God so loving, pure, holy and perfect that we are met with our own imperfections, self righteousness and where we fall short of the glory of God. thus, my admonishment is quite simple: heed to, not quench, the Spirit. find Jesus and have Him show you the heart motives even behind something like presidential-voting that aren’t aligned with His Holy Word. none of us love our neighbor like we ultimately should as it is. let Jesus question your love for others in a good way. let Him challenge you to a higher calling. to live a life worthy of the Gospel message to which we have received. as He pours out His love for you, you’ll feel compelled to love others with a more radical, impartial, dignifying love. because despite who sits in the White House in a few months, millions of Americans will still have something in common: the desperate need to be loved on with the sacrificial, overwhelming, good forgiving love of our Redeemer. and I just hope that how we vote, who we vote for and the politics we engage in always reflect a love that considers another’s life before our own.
grace + peace.