As elections draw nearer and nearer, campaign ads seem to become nauseatingly ubiquitous. And it is a good time to remind all of us (me, too) that we do not get involved with politics.
It isn’t that we don’t care about the issues. It isn’t that we don’t love our country. It’s just that we do not participate in politics. More than that, we believe that God does not want us to participate in politics–voting, campaigning, etc. The “whys” of that are best discussed in other places and at other times (such as a time when I’m not trying to accomplish so many things before sundown 🙂 ). But lest anyone think of us as a monolithic culture of political leanings in our ranks, let me make a few comments.
There are some among us who, I am sure, sympathize with many of the sentiments connected with the Tea Party movement. I am just as sure that there are some among us who sympathize with those who wish to see universal healthcare become a reality and who want more government intervention. I have met individuals in the Church of God of both stripes. There are those who believe that the government is a horrible provider of “nanny state” services, and there are those who believe that the government should be taking a larger role in the care of citizens in hard times. Some “old timers” among us will point to the importance of letting people fail and to pull themselves up by their “bootstraps” and there are some who will passionately defend FDR’s decisions during the depression. We have a variety of opinions amongst ourselves, to be sure, and many of those opinions are passionately held.
But let’s not get caught up in ignoring the truth, our calling, and our command to “come out and be separate” as our passions carry us away and risk turning us into “just another political partisan.” For example, do some think of the idea of “President Hillary Clinton” and think, “Well, Isaiah 3:12 prophesied this would happen–it’s a curse!” while at the same time, when confronted with the idea of “President Sarah Palin,” think, “You know, she might be the only person for the job. It would be great if she were in office–we need a Deborah!” Does Isaiah 3:12 only apply to one political party, or is the truth the truth? Would it be less of a condemnation of America if there were no conservative male candidate who could plausibly be elected than it is if there is no liberal male candidate?
I’m not saying that we don’t have our preferences or that it is irrational to see one person as better qualified as another, or closer to godly values than another. But I am saying that we can’t let carnal, political thinking interfere with our God-commanded obligation to judge things by His Word instead of the political passions of the day.
However I may sympathize, for instance, with many of the Tea Partiers’ values, the fact is that the Tea Parties do not represent the real solution to America’s real ills to any significant degree, any more than do those who would take America down a more Statist or Socialist path.
No, the solution is not more raw Capitalism. No, the solution is not more compromises with Socialism. The coming Kingdom of God will be defined by neither of those “-isms.”
For instance, people are depicted as having ownership of private property in the Millennium (e.g., Zech. 3:10, Micah 4:4). God clearly believes in working and earning your food (e.g., 2 Thess. 3:10-12). Jesus discussed bankers giving interest on investments in His parables (e.g., Matt. 25:27) and did not do so in a negative light or with a negative connotation. Yet, God also demands elements of social support for the poor. He requires a special tithe of everyone’s increase during the third year as support for those in need (Deut. 26:12-13). He required Israelite farmers to leave the corners of their field and some of the grapes in their vineyard to be harvested by the “poor and the stranger” (Lev. 19:9-10). Note that they had to work to benefit from these things, yet note, as well, that this was a commanded requirement, not simply left to the sense of generosity felt or not felt by the landowner.
Not exactly a pure “free market” but not exactly socialism, either. God’s way simply doesn’t fit into any of these “-isms.”
Rather, let me stop here and say that we can watch or listen to Glenn Beck, or Keith Olbermann, or Sean Hannity, or Rachel Maddow, or Rush Limbaugh, or Bill O’Reilly, and we can watch (or click on) FOX News, or MSNBC, or CNN, and we can read the Wall Street Journal, or the New York Times, or the Washington Post… But the moment we realize we sense that we are losing a biblical point of view and that it is being smothered by a Beckian, Olbermannian, Limbaughian, etc. point of view, we need to back off and get our bearings. I had to do this myself several years ago as I found myself depending more and more on the opinion makers for my opinions, and I’m determined not to get lost in the political wilderness ever again. God called me out of that and showed me (as He did most of you) the real problems as well as the real solutions. I don’t want to risk forgetting them.
“Throw the bums out and put our bums in,” is not a solution to America’s ills. Repentance is. And it’s the only one.
“[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 will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14