The following is the second of a seven part series, Bad Ideas about Christians and Politics. Read Part 1.
The intro from part one:
I’m a Christian who works in politics. Usually I say – when asked – that I work in “public policy,” and I explain that public policy is the “beautiful cousin” of politics.
Among Christians, there seem to be a number of bad ideas about engaging in politics. Sometimes I even buy into these bad ideas myself. That’s probably what’s behind the vagueness and qualifiers that I offer while explaining my work.
Below are some of the bad ideas about faith and politics that I wanted to dispel:
2. Christians shouldn’t engage in politics because politics is divisive.
When people – even Christians – talk about political issues, eventually there’s going to be some disagreement. Unfortunately, our culture has accepted some lies about disagreement. Our political discourse has devolved, becoming overly personal.
Someone disagrees with you? So what! That does not necessarily mean that one of you is a bad person, has bad motives, or that the two of you can’t continue to have a positive relationship with one another. In fact, respectful exchanges between people who disagree are exactly what our political landscape is missing right now.
The Bible calls us to “live peaceably with everyone,” and certainly Christians should use discernment before commenting on a political subject (“Will this be a comment that lifts people up and declares the truth?”) But we are NOT called to put our own likability and comfort above the truth. We are not called to be silent about the truth in the name of peace (because real peace is only found in the truth!)
In fact, times of trial and conflict sometimes present the greatest opportunities for Christians, in humility and gentleness, to model Christ’s love for others. So we should not run from discussions of political issues just for fear of being divisive. Instead, we should pray for discernment about when and how to communicate what’s right. Sometimes the wise thing is to be silent (Scripture cautions often not to argue with “fools”), but sometimes not. Sometimes we’re called to speak up.
Read part 3.