It is a taboo subject. We often don’t talk about it, because it causes strife, division, and just all around disagreement.
What subject? It’s politics!
Am I right? Do you talk politics within your group of family and friends?
I have a confession. I have never been a fan of politics. However, my parents have been. I grew up with parents who not only talked about politics, but got involved in politics. I think I first understood the major divide when I was in seventh grade. The Spanish teacher made a comment stating that she was a democrat. From the back of the room a cute blond peer loudly stated, “You are a democrat! Christian’s can’t be democrat!”
I think I silently echoed the feeling, as that was the feeling I felt within my house too. And I’m not saying my parents denounced democrats. They just tended towards the republican side. They also stood for life and other key issues often debated within the political realm. Just yesterday an older acquaintance commented on her parents being staunch democrats. She then went on to explain that in their days the democratic party was more conservative! She even noted how utterly shocked they’d be to know that their children switched to the republican side! (Again, she is a Christian friend!). Yet another friend noted how most of the people in her church are democrats! There is great divide!
I have a November birthday, and the first time I got to vote for president happened to be exactly on my birthday. Of course I voted as I also grew up learning that you need to vote! But, I’ve also got to admit that I was not well informed, educated, or pro-active in forming my own opinion. Over the last 14 years I’ve been able to vote, I often asked my dad who he was voting for, and why. I’d also ask my brother-in-law who followed politics far more closely than I. Usually I respected both their opinions, and they usually agreed. It was a win-win … two people that I respected agreed, and gave reasons generally in line with my own beliefs. So I voted as they did.
Now however, we are in another race for presidential nominees within each party. I will honestly say that this time I am much more informed, aware, and educated! My husband likes to follow politics. I didn’t even know who was running at first. He told me. He also told me I needed to pick a candidate and have a reason why! So I took a little quiz to see which candidate I most closely agreed with! I have watched most of/parts of each debate so far. And I mean each debate, both democratic and republican debates. I’ve formed opinions, I’ve asked questions, I’ve been out-right irritated, I’ve compared candidates, I’ve judged, I’ve applauded, and I’ve walked away from the television due to my extreme aversion to fighting and nit-picking.
Politics. The not taboo subject in my home. And guess what, I like that! My husband and I have both shown passion over this subject this year. We’ve disagreed. We’ve agreed. We’ve asked, “what honey?” to the other’s look of disapproval. And once after a particularly heated republican debate, and our own passions were stirred, we prayed about it at night before bed.
Politics. Now, I’ll be honest. The discussions get heated because each of us has our own world-view, beliefs, fears, frustrations, upbringings, personality, and opinions. And all of this weighs on our own individual choice of which candidate we prefer.
I believe that the foremost front-runners of each party have strengths and weaknesses. All the candidates do. Just today I was shocked to learn who my sister and brother-in-law would likely vote for. We actually had our own little heated debate! Politics! We disagreed! We both had our reasons. After the conversation though, I emphatically stated to my husband, “Neither of the candidates seem to be practicing godly behaviors!”
My husband is an avid fan of a certain candidate. The people I work with avidly oppose this same person! I waffle back and forth. I sometimes like him, I sometimes don’t! I understand some of his reasoning, other times I’m irritated. I respect my husband who has researched his candidate fully, and I respect my dad, who disagrees with my husband!
But, this is what I’m firmly convinced of, and likely you are too if you hold a biblical worldview: God reigns on his throne. He is sovereign over everything, including politics. And, He is working out His world time-table. Nothing takes Him by surprise!
So, in thinking to the Bible, which provides all we need for life (in the year of 2016) I noted several things which help me with the realm of politics. One is that no candidate is perfect! Each is a sinner! Several claim religious beliefs in God. I am glad God is the judge of thoughts, motives and actions, because I have been judgmental of these claims, which leads (in my case) to prideful thoughts (sin of my own). I have said, “he’s not Christian!” However, I do not know man’s heart. Praise God that He is the rightful Judge!
But, also look to the Old Testament in the Bible. Many kings rose to power. Some “did good in God’s eyes” and others “did evil.” Sometimes they even did “more evil than any king before them.” And Nebuchadnezzar, a pagan king, was driven from the throne and acted like an animal until He recognized God’s sovereignty. Only then was his sanity and throne restored! Fascinating! And then there is the prophet Habakkuk who was questioning what God was doing, and God revealed that he was going to use another (evil) nation to work his purposes out. Habakkuk didn’t understand but he knew God’s sovereignty, and Habakkuk chose to trust.
These give me great comfort. Evil rulers and good rulers — both are placed by God. We the people have opinions and votes. We do matter. Yet in the over-arching view of God’s sovereignty, all can be entrusted to the One God who sits enthroned above the heavens. We can bend our knee to His timing, His grace, His judgements, and His plan. We can pray, “God in your wrath remember mercy!” We can pray for our world’s leaders. I confess, that is not my usual practice. Rather I complain about them. That is not a godly response!
In the last six months I have said often, “Well the coming presidential election should be interesting!” It will be! Even within my own family we are divided, including my husband and me! We have our own opinions!
But dear sisters, press on! My pastor closes every Sunday service with these words, “In the week that is to come, whatever happens, God is with you!” So I echo his words, “Believers of God, in the year that is to come, whatever happens, God is with you!”