Text: Psalm 91: 1 “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High willrest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and myfortress, my God, inwhom I trust.”
The question of how we shall live together is so complex that failing togive it adequate attention results in a lot of strain and could cost eternallife with Christ. The very fundamental relationship of living together as ahusband and wife can cause so much tension that individuals in the relationshipspend all their energy strategizing on self-protection. Living together asdifferent families, complicated by different ethnic backgrounds, history ofcontrol by a people having different worldview, requires deep reflection. Thatis what makes the relationship between politics and Christian faith a thornyand confusing subject. In a growing economy where people have a longing forchange for the better and have freedom to make choice in choosing theirleaders, the topic of politics sparks spontaneous debate. The temptation ofthose in power to use their position to silence those with differing views ishigh even among the believers. Someone has rightly observed that Christians keep praying yet keep losing the culturewars. While prayer is basic to the life of a believer, there is prayer thatreveals individuals’ perceptions that are deeply influenced by politicalinclinations that border on propaganda. That causes suspicion, confusion tothose who may not share the political leaning of the one either praying orpreaching. This is mainly because it isnot possible to have political views outside the considerations ofone’s core values. The question is whether a Christian can havepolitical views, including propaganda, outside the considerations of his/herfaith.
“Keep yourselves in thelove of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life”(Jude verse 21, KJV). From Living Bible Translation the same passage is “ Stayalways within the boundaries where God’s love can reach and bless you. Waitpatiently for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is goingto give you” . The believer has the responsibility of choosing thoughtsand actions that align with being within the love of God. To choose otherwiseis to sin because “If anyone, then, knowsthe good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them” (James4:17). John Wesley one day walked to his mother and asked: "Mum, definesin for me". Her answer was this: "Whatever weakensyour reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience,obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish for spiritualthings, in short, if anything increases the authority of the flesh overthe spirit, that to you becomes sin, however good it is in itself."
Remainrooted in Truth - “You shall not givefalse testimony against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16) is one of thecommandments that God wrote with his finger but can be very difficult to keepin times of elections. One views their preferred political candidate as ablewhile the other is fully convinced that the person is not able. What is viewedby people from one party as white is presented by the opposing party as blackand none of them is lying. Anthony R. Brunello says that political,social and cultural life is undertaken in a propaganda soaked atmosphere suchthat its effects are ubiquitous, its machinations inscrutable, and its energyperpetual. It is at times difficult to distinguish between ‘bearing falsewitness against a neighbor’ and propaganda as Christians engages with the restof the society in teaching, critiquing, analyzing what they perceive ascommunity needs. It is difficult to distinguish between propaganda andpersuasion, which are related and distinct concepts. Propaganda is theintentional manipulation and shaping of what people think, see and believe inan effort to get them respond in ways that satisfy the interests and goals ofthe propagandist. Persuasion involves dialogue, and it is a communicativeprocess to influence others. In using propaganda one does not need to considerthe needs or interests of the audience, and does not require that propagandistsbelieve in what they are doing as long as they achieve their goals. Thedesire to be elected to serve the people or to have one’s candidate elected canbe so strong that Christ does not have pre-eminence (Colossians 1:18). AChristian who is a disciple of Jesus Christ has no right to exaggerate, orrepeat what is not true even if majority of the people do so because, “Theseare the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and rendertrue and sound judgment in your courts; 17 donot plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. Ihate all this,” declares the Lord” (Zechariah 8:16-17). Again theChristian’s constitution otherwise called the Bible says, “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood andspeak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body” (Ephesians 4:25). In a bookwritten in 1933, Carter Godwin Woodson said, “While serving as the avenue ofthe oppressor’s propaganda, the Negro church, although doing some good, hasprevented the union of diverse elements and has kept the race too weak toovercome foes who have purposely taught Negroes how to quarrel and fight abouttrifles until their enemies can overcome them.” That is true insome churches today and it is still ungodly. To allow propaganda and lies to be spoken without standing for what isright is wrong because “If you distort a people’s history, you willeventually distort a people’s future” (Carter G. Woodson). Theconfidence of a Christian in times of change is having confidence in Jesus characterwho never leave us or forsake us. If you care for your people, remain in theTruth and be truthful in thought, word and deed.
IN AHIGHLY POLITICIZED ATMOSPHERE CHRISTIAN’S SHOULD TAKE THEIR POSITION WHICH ISABOVE POLITICAL REALM
My dear brother/ sister in the Lord “Do you not know that wewill judge angels? How much more the things of this life!” (1 Corinthians 6:3). It is beneath thedignity of a believer to assume that power and allocation of resourcesjustifies use of worldly strategies. Every human being, old and young,male or female bear God’s image and likeness and cannot be used like thoughtless,helpless creatures or manipulated for short term objectives of others. Noanger, disappointment or joy of gaining the desired position justifies one tobe unloving, unforgiving and uncaring. The believer has to recognize that thosedisappointed because of the outcome of elections need the comfort, understanding and loveof a believer. That means one has to learn from David of old to strengthenoneself in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6).
Think ofwhat Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said of the church,
And the church is the one place where a doctorought to forget that he's a doctor. The church is the one place where a Ph.D.ought to forget that he's a Ph.D. The church is the one place that the schoolteacher ought to forget the degree she has behind her name. The church is theone place where the lawyer ought to forget that he's a lawyer. And any churchthat violates the "whosoever will, let him come" doctrine is a dead,cold church, and nothing but a little social club with a thin veneer ofreligiosity. When the church is true to its nature, it says, "Whosoeverwill, let him come."
Charles Colson says no government can redeem the world or be used as atool to establish the kingdom of God, civil government does not set boundariesfor human behavior. It is not possible to pick any one form of as the standard,having agreed rules set in a constitution is more likely to conform to biblicalprinciples and respond to what dignifies people and frees them to choose toworship God. This is because power that is dispersed and shared by a majorityof the people is better than power in hands of a few people. It is indignifyingwhen people live as slaves who work so hard, for long hours but cannot choosehow to prize their labor or products of their labor. Choosing those who come upwith rules that influence what is valued and whether there will be a culture ofenriching life or death is what politics is about. As Christians, we should welcome opportunities toparticipate in government with the goal of influencing the state to conform toGod’s will for it as a social institution.
Regardless of the views one holds, the most important question is thesource of the deeply hidden core beliefs that drives one’s actions. Ifthe location, weather or the surroundings do not change the son of a king frombeing a prince, so it is with a believer. A Christian who is settled in theshelter of the Most High is secure. When you find the security that God gives,then you can trust him to be shelter as we organize ourselves on how we livewith one another. Remember no genuine prayer that seeks for God’s will to bedone on earth as it is in heaven goes unanswered. The world is watching God’s people, not justfor how they vote, but for how their love for God and neighbor is manifested intheir electronic communication and in conversations with family and friends. Do you believe that it is God whogoverns affairs of people and if no hair can fall from our heads withouthis knowledge, then is he not in chargeof our politics?
“It is impossible to mentally or socially enslave a Bible-readingpeople. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom”(Horace Greely).