If you have Facebook, Twitter, the internet, or even a good set of eyes, you have seen political advertisements really start to take over lately. They are everywhere. Even beyond the official endorsements, it seems that everybody has an opinion and they are more than willing to share it…over and over again…on their choice of social media.
During the recent national conventions, I ended up blocking some of my Facebook friends that I usually enjoy hearing from. Even now I often become frustrated, annoyed, and sometimes even angry at the posts I read on both sides of the political spectrum. But why does it bother me so much? Why do I let it get under my skin?
As I started processing these questions, I came to some very obvious conclusions. It doesn’t bother me that people have personal beliefs that may or may not be different from mine. It doesn’t bother me that people are passionate about politics. My concern all boils down to the sinful intent of most of the statements I read.
The vast majority of the political things I read fall into one of two categories. The first category is one of slander. Of course almost every political television commercial is based on dragging “the other guy’s” name through the mud. But when individuals talk about opposing candidates, it seems that they get even more personal.
There is so much anger, judgment, and hatred displayed toward politicians and anybody that may be registered with a different party. People make assumptions and put people in boxes based on information they overhead somebody else saying they read about on a blog that quoted from a friend of a friend of the author on Twitter. And it seems like everyone is in full support of everyone else’s right to their own beliefs until somebody disagrees with them.
Don't get me wrong. I am in full support of respectful disagreement. But it seems like mean, hateful, and hurtful intentions have become the foundation for so many political discussions. Things are often said to purposefully hurt people and to directly insult their intelligence, morality, or even their spiritual understanding. So what does the Bible say about this?
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31-21 NLT)
The other category of political statements is even more disturbing as it often borders on idolatry. While people are quick to be hateful about “the other guy,” they never hesitate to support anything and everything that their candidate says. Many people pledge full, unwavering support no matter what and are never willing to admit that the person they support is, in fact, human and flawed.
People are always willing to make statements about how wonderful their candidate is and how much smarter, caring, and morally upright he or she is. They are willing to put in hours and hours making sure everybody knows how perfect this person is. Many of these comments, especially when they are consistently coming from the same person, look an awful lot like worship.
Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. (Psalm 146: 3-4 NLT)
If you love politics, great. If you really believe one of these candidates is that much better than the other, feel free to support that person. But please remember that, above being a democrat or republican or whatever, you are a Christian. Even when debating political platforms, you can still choose to love people as we are called to and remember to keep Christ first. Don’t abandon your faith to jump on a political bandwagon. Unfortunately, that seems like a pretty difficult thing to do these days.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33 NLT)