Oh, America. Can we all agree that we’ve come such a long way from a time when political ads looked like Disney cartoons?
There’s no way around it: politics are messy, calculated and strategic. There’s the side of the politician that the cameras show, and then there’s the other side. There’s the attempt to be tactful and keep up appearances, and then there’s a certain level of boldness that is admirable, too. But let’s face it: it didn’t used to be quite the bloodbath it is today.
Tensions are high, everyone has an opinion, and it’s hard for me not to get swept up in it all. No, I’m not very vocal socially about it. When someone asks, I try to stay pretty neutral. But it doesn’t mean you can’t hear me from the next room as I watch the presidential debate. I definitely have my own thoughts on it all.
As a Christian, I wonder: what is God’s perspective on all of this? How on earth would Jesus respond to the presidential election, especially this one? How are his followers supposed to reflect him in all of this? Here are a few scriptures that came to mind for me.
All from the New International Version:
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” – Colossians 1:15-17
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” – Romans 13:1-2
“[God] sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, then he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.” – Isaiah 40:22-24 [word added for context]
“‘Should we pay [taxes to Caesar] or shouldn’t we?’ But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. ‘Why are you trying to trap me?’ he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.’ They brought the coin, and he asked them, ‘Whose image is this? And whose inscription?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.’ And they were amazed at him.” – Mark 12:15-17 [words added for context]
“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” – Titus 3:1-2
“But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.” – Titus 3:9
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the Lord that one gets justice.” – Proverbs 29:24-25
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
“The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. He rules the world in righteousness and judges the people with equity. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” – Psalm 9:7-10
Out of all of these passages, I come to some of the same conclusions:
- God is the ultimate authority. He is in control of the happenings of this world, and not only that, but it’s all part of his plan – what he has already established.
- It’s part of our responsibility, from God, to be subject to authority and to governing laws.
- The results of the elections are not the end of the story.
- Getting caught up in worldly matters and arguments doesn’t get us anywhere spiritually.
What do you find in scripture (these or others) that helps you see politics from God’s perspective?