On January 20, 2021, America will begin what I believe will be a peaceful transition in power from one political party to another. This transition has occurred dozens of times in America’s history, and will undoubtedly occur dozens of more times.
The last several years have revealed a lot of political anger, both in Lufkin, Texas, and all over the country. As the USA matures, we have become more politically polarized. It’s now pretty common for elections to be decided by several thousand votes out of millions cast. That’s added to the angst of many who believe that fraud has been perpetrated by the other political party.
Anger is destructive, and political anger is insidious because we all love our country and we’re all invested in the common good. To that end, the following are several points that you need to remember about political anger.
- Disciples of Christ should be known for their faith, hope, and love, not their political anger (1 Corinthians 13:13).
- Disciples in the first century were apolitical in the sense of not trusting in politics to achieve their ends. They knew Christ’s kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). Some believe this example doesn’t count because first century disciples couldn’t influence their world politically, but we can in a democracy. However, Jesus chose not to use political means to attend His goals while on the earth.
- Christians invest their time and resources in the spiritual kingdom (Matthew 6:33). Earthly kingdoms come and go. They go through cycles of corruption and reform. Christ’s kingdom is eternal.
- The Christian’s weapons and battles aren’t carnal (2 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 6:12). We fight a crucial spiritual battle.
- Political anger takes away the peace that passes all understanding that’s available to the Christian who puts their trust in God (Philippians 4:7).
- Political anger affects our efforts to reach the lost with the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:22-23). This is especially true in larger cities.
- The way to overcome evil is with good — the gospel of love — not with political pressure (Romans 12:21).
- To identify ourselves with a political figure of the left or the right as if he or she were the solution to our country’s problems is to marginalize Jesus Christ. He is the only solution to man’s problem of sin (John 14:6).
- Political anger shows too much attachment to the world (1 John 2:15).
- Remember that “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).
I’m not advocating that we ignore politics completely. It is a necessary avenue for principles of righteousness to be disseminated into society. Furthermore, government and its mechanism (politics) is ordained by God (Romans 13:1-2). But we go too far when we dwell on politics and use it as a driving force for anger and a distraction from the principles of “fear[ing] God and keep[ing] His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Don’t fear what will come over the next several years. Put your faith in God and pray for your country (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
Adapted from Gardner Hall