When I was a sophomore in college I came home at Christmas time and announced that I’d decided I was a Democrat. My mother cried. To be honest, 90% of my thought process involved just wanting to be my own person. I wanted to be able to make a decision and say, “This is what I believe, not just what I’ve been taught to believe.” It was one of my early, brief-lived rebellious phases and it was quickly battered with the “God is a Republican” speech. Not in those exact words, but the thought and the effect were there.
We are entering the political season again. For many of us it is a season of heartbreak, a season when we would just like to crawl into a hole and come out when the shouting is over. It is a season when many people forget that the message of the cross is not a political message, but one of grace. Grace to all, no matter where they stand in life.
We moved here four years ago, in the midst of the last presidential election. Because I had no connections and no friends in the area I did a lot of my connecting online, mostly on message boards frequented by other Christians. I learned a lesson on those boards that I had forgotten in the fifteen or so years since my mother’s tear-filled speech; the church doesn’t want Democrats, Libertarians, Green Party or any other such party. It was a lesson that did a lot of damage to a faith that was very fragile at the moment. It was a lesson that made church hunting very painful because every time I stepped through the doors I thought “This is a place where we are not going to be accepted.” It took a very long time to get past that.
The point of this post? It isn’t to call out any political party (I’ve seen the blasting come from both sides). It isn’t to say what party I affiliate with (because that is often subject to change). It is simply to remind everyone of this; in this political season, watch your words. Give grace. The person you are speaking to, the person who is reading your words may be seeking something, something you are sacrificing on the altar of politics. I am not asking anyone to not hold strong views, I am just asking for stronger grace. It absolutely breaks my heart to see people calling into question the faith of another based on POLITICS. Politics is an earthly system run by earthly people to come up with earthly solutions; it is not Kingdom based and never will be Kingdom based.
Grace is Kingdom based. Please hear my heart when I say that now is the time for the church to show NOT its political side, but its grace-filled side.
Grace. It has to be about grace because that is what the world really needs.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6 (NIV)