Dear CRC Family,
A year ago, if any of us would have had any dread about 2020, we were not thinking about a record year for hurricanes, wildfires, racial strife and injustice, protest and unrest in the streets, and an economic collapse brought on by a global pandemic. These were not necessarily on anyone’s radar. If we had any dread of 2020, it was centered on the election. How would our nation fare in the midst of what many feared would be the most divisive election cycle in recent history?
At times it seemed that day of dread would never come, but alas it has arrived. Many are anxious not only for the election results, but also the potential reaction to it. However, as Christians we need not be anxious nor filled with dread. Rather, we are free to walk in faith and be peacemakers. But how exactly are we able to do that? What resources does the gospel provide?
Allow me to give some biblical perspective, as we enter this day.
First, Jesus is Lord regardless of the election’s outcome. By this time tomorrow, nothing will have changed in heaven. And that is very good news…for everyone!
A dear brother commented to me recently about what a “devastating” situation our world is in. He wondered “what people hold onto without the hope and assurance of Christ.” Amen! Thank God we have a hope that goes beyond elections. Indeed! We have a hope that goes beyond the grave!
Jesus—not earthly kings, congresses or courts—determines our fate. All earthly kingdoms shall “come to pass,” but Jesus’s kingdom shall have no end.
One of the most arrogant political leaders of all-time finally got it right after God humbled him:
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
All the inhabitants of the earth are of no account,
But He does according to His will among the army of heaven
And among the inhabitants of earth;
And no one can fend off His hand
Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’ (Daniel 4:34-35)
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had quite literally lost his mind. His self-obsessed pride had driven him mad, until he “raised [his] eyes heavenward and [his] reason was restored.” Nothing restores our sanity like a glimpse of the Sovereign Savior.
Our anxiety and anger stems from a misplaced confidence—from fixing our eyes on self or would-be saviors of this world. I remind you: the kingdom of God is not inaugurated with the next session of Congress. The Messiah doesn’t arrive on Air Force One. Jesus is not coming to take sides. He is coming to take over. As Abraham Lincoln put it so well at a time of great division: “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
The early Christians were put to death for their simple confession, “Jesus is Lord.” Their hope and ultimate allegiance were in Christ Jesus, and the powers-that-be saw that as a threat. These Christians had their own center of gravity and so could not be manipulated by the state or the society. As Christians, I urge you with renewed fervor to look to the Savior, not to Caesar. This allows us to enter the voting booth with the proper perspective: rightfully fulfilling our duty as citizens, not frantically looking for a savior.
If you’re convinced you and your side is right, then show it with your humble service and love toward those you think are wrong.
There is no righteousness, there is no truth, without humility. Proverbs tells us: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). True wisdom begins with humbling yourself. True wisdom never ceases to be a humble learner.
That’s why James challenges us in our prideful “wisdom”:
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him, by his good behavior, show forth his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. (James 3:13-16)
Does your “wisdom” or your “rightness” lead you to bickering, hatred and bitterness? Then, it is not from God—no matter how right your position might be.
Rather, true wisdom is:
…first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, free of hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:17-18)
Similarly, Paul warns the division-prone Corinthian church:
Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone thinks that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. (1 Corinthians 8:1-3)
There is no true knowledge without humble obedience, and there is no humble obedience without love.
When Jesus, the embodiment of all truth, entered this world, He was gentle and humble of heart (Matt. 11:30). He humbled himself in loving obedience (Phil. 2:8) and became our servant (Phil. 2:7). Genuine Wisdom conquered us by yielding to our need; it served us by dying for our sin. Indeed, the foolishness of God is wiser than our wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than our strength (1 Cor. 1:25). Christ-like spirituality is marked not by how right you are, but by whether you can serve and die for those you think are wrong. Jesus died for His enemies. He suffered for those who hated Him. If you call yourself a Christian, you can expect no less, as you bring the wisdom of God to bear in your life and world.
Be considerate of your brothers or sisters who may have differing political perspectives born of differing personal experiences. Don’t stand in judgment of one another.
Human politics is always messy. Our options are never perfect, and our perspective is never quite perfectly clear. In a real sense, whenever we enter the voting booth, we are always settling for some kind of compromise. (The last I checked Jesus is not running for office! ) Therefore, when we fulfill our civic duty to vote, we must have the freedom of conscience to make the choice we think is best, before the eyes of God.
Certainly, we have the freedom to persuade one another as to which choice would best facilitate the common good. But we do not have the freedom to judge one another’s consciences—disdaining other’s and casting their motives and intelligence in the worst possible light.
Inevitably, we are going to have differing perspectives, differing consciences, and therefore, we may come to differing conclusions. Our responsibility is not to sit in judgment of one another, but to love and serve one another under the kingly authority of Jesus.
Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand…. But as for you, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or you as well, why do you regard your brother or sister with contempt? For we will all appear before the judgment seat of God. For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, to Me every knee will bow, and every tongue will give praise to God.” So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God…. (Romans 14:4, 10-12, emphasis added)
The true and final Judge has commanded us to understand and accept one another. And He does so precisely because He has already been judged for us all. “So then we must pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another” (Romans 14:19).
Conclusion: Day of Fasting and Prayer, Wednesday, November 4th
In conclusion, though we are citizens of this world, with all the rights and responsibilities thereof, our ultimate “citizenship is in heaven from which we eagerly await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:21). Such a hope functions like an anchor in the present storm. It doesn’t keep us from the public square; it keeps us steady there. It gives us the strength from which we can obey God’s command to love our neighbor.
Finally, don’t forget to join us for a day of fasting and prayer tomorrow. Nothing directs our attention to where it needs to be, like fasting and prayer. The most political act you do this week is not voting. Rather, it is calling on the King of Heaven, asking that His kingdom come and that His will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven.
For the Eternal King,