The political environment in America is precarious. The country is more divided than ever before. Both sides of the political spectrum declare they have solutions to the obstacles facing America. Will the party in power rise to the occasion and generate a solution to repair the frayed fabric in our country? Perhaps, but only time will tell.
While rigorous debate and sharing one's viewpoint should be a part of our American free speech—it does not extend a license to slander, spread prejudice, lie, or engage in conspiracy gossip that creates false hopes. However, cognitive diversity and honest, rational debate has always been a robust system of American life. Americans are privileged with the freedom to vote for our leaders, voice our opinions, and value all Americans' well-being. The freedom of cognitive diversity and civil discourse formed the American spirit. Patriotic enthusiasm, however, is brought to shame and humiliation by violent protests, riotous conduct, intolerance of others, persecution of one's views, and other intimidating vices.
The question for the believer in Christ is—how should Christians react to political unrest? Let me offer several biblical responses.
- We Respond with Faith.
The Bible says: "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). Believers must have faith in the all-knowing power of God. The political atmosphere of today has not taken God by surprise and nullified His Omniscience. It does not overwhelm God with anxiety, forcing Him to come up with a Plan B. He will never waver from Plan A—because His sovereign plans are perfect! While God does not cause all things, because He has granted to us human free will, He allows things to happen. This brings up the "why" questions for God. If He is righteous and holy, why doesn't He stop the evil in the world? The answer to that, in my humble opinion, is simple—you assume He will not stop evil. Isaiah 55:8 states: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD." God's timing is not our timing. His ways are beyond our ability to grasp. Therefore, the believer is to respond in faith—knowing that while we see the fences of life, God looks over the fence and knows what lies ahead.
- We Respond by Trusting in God's Future Judgment.
There will come a day when all of humanity will yield before the Lord and realize His Sovereign Authority. Paul said: "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God" (Romans 14:11; also see Isaiah 45:23). No one will escape God's judgment. No one can appeal to a higher authority—because there is none higher than God. The Apostle John, while living in exile on the island of Patmos, wrote about God's future judgment and said: "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works" (Revelation 20:12-13). Knowing the judgment of God, it calls us to persuade men to live for God. We cannot do so when sin fills our hearts. We must walk in humility and holiness before the Lord. Only then can He use us to be the salt (holding back corruption) and light (illuminating the darkness) in the world.
- We Respond by Running our Race with Patience.
God sees every detail of human life. The writer of Hebrews said: "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:13). God sees not only the duplicity, dishonesty, and depravity of the heart but also the life that yearns to do the will of God. God guarantees to reward the believer's righteous behavior. One day, you will arrive at the end of your earthly journey. And when that time takes place, it will not matter whether you are famous. It will not matter how much fortune you gained or how many friends admire you. All that will matter is your saving faith in Jesus Christ. Know that God is watching as you run the Christian race with passion. Live with the Christian's reward in mind, knowing that there is a glorious payday coming. A day when God sets His church in the position of reigning with Him. Your actions, attitude, and obedience to the opportunities presented to you on earth will affect your reward. Therefore, be resolved to run your race with patience.
- We Respond by Praying
The Scripture invites us to pray and to look forward to the blessing of God. II Chronicles 7:14 says: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." Prayer is your first line of defense and constitutes the spiritual weapon that holds back the dark forces of discouragement.
Praying to God has a process and is best recalled by the word ACTS. Talking to God begins with adoration—that is, acknowledging the person, power, and plans of God. Adoration gives way to confession. You must reflect on your way of life and confess your sins as you draw near into the presence of God. Once your soul is clean by asking forgiveness, the believer is ready to offer thanksgiving unto the Lord. A thankful heart is a willing heart that is readily prepared to undertake the Master's will. After adoration, confession, and thanksgiving, you conclude with supplication. You pray for others, and your prayer list should include world leaders—1 Timothy 2:1-2 "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty."
Your response as a believer in Christ is to pray for those in authority. Regardless of what political party occupies the government, as a believer in Christ, pray for them. Paul instructs Timothy, "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour" (1 Timothy 2:3).
While liberty and freedom are always worth fighting for—we must fight with our faith and not our fist. All believers are called to look to the ONE who can make America great—and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Missional Until He Comes,
Dr. David L. Sampson