As politics in many ways continues to divide our cities, states and certainly nation, one important question arises for us as believers: How do I remain committed to my principles and continue to stick up for what I believe is right without alienating those who most need the love of Christ (i.e., those who may be unbelieving and see me daily)?
We know our faith is one of action. And, yet, too often we witness the actions of fellow believers doing more harm than good, especially when it comes to politics, and often in the name of Christianity.
“God calls us to be involved,” we explain as we (occasionally) find ourselves pointing our fingers at those on the other side of the aisle. And if we aren’t careful? We find ourselves arguing our political “point” with someone in the grocery store aisle, our neighbor down the road or, even worse, in church.
Of course, those arguments typically do more harm than good, and rarely does the other person in the discussion have any kind of epiphany based on our heated political discussions.
Although we are to always be on the alert and stand firm in the faith (1 Cor 16:13), nowhere are we told to always be argumentative. Thus, in my immediate family, we’ve learned to abide by several simple tenets in dealing with others, to avoid the alienating effect of political discussions:
First, we make no assumptions about the social settings we’re in. Often times, we have found that close family and friends may feel strongly — and differently — than we do. Politics is a subject often best left alone in most social settings.
Secondly, we let our actions speak louder than words. One of my favorite old Christian rock groups, back “in the day,” was Petra. The title of one of their songs suggested Christians should first be “Seen and Not Heard.” They were correct in saying there’s often too much talk and not enough walk in some Christian circles.
Lastly, politics should remain out of the church. At our church, we don’t discuss politics, from the pulpit or elsewhere. As Word&Way Editor Brian Kaylor correctly noted in the June issue, if the preacher is preaching politics at your church, it’s time to find a new church.
Ultimately, we follow the Great Commission. But we do so in our actions and leave the politicking to those in the political arena.
Christopher Dixon is the Chief Operating Officer of eLectio Publishing (electiopublishing.com) and the pastor of West Finley Baptist Church near Fordland, Mo.