The dust is beginning to settle after yesterday’s historic mid-term election. Politicos and pundits have been analyzing and dissecting the results, some of which are not yet final as ballots continue to be tallied. Earlier today, President Trump conducted a dramatic, combative and at times, explosive press conference from the East Room of the White House where he weighed in on the “split decision” rendered by the American people.
As I mentioned in my initial statement last evening, the outcome included both good news and bad news for Christians concerned about the family, the sanctity of life, religious freedom and free speech.
The very good news from last night is that judges committed to the Constitution will continue to be appointed and approved. With the prospect of additional openings on the United States Supreme Court as well as lower federal courts, an increased conservative majority in the United States Senate is an encouraging development.
Many of us were likewise heartened to see the sanctity of life affirmed in West Virginia and Alabama, where voters in both states approved initiatives that will amend their respective state constitutions and prevent taxpayer dollars from paying for abortions.
In Oregon, a similar measure failed. While disappointing, the outcome was not surprising due to the prevalence of an entrenched liberal ideology in the Pacific Northwest.
As the final numbers come in, we know the Republican party appears to have increased their lead in the Senate while the Democrat party regained majority control of the House of Representatives.
So, where do we go from here?
As believers, it’s important that we participate in the electoral process. I understand why many Christians are uncomfortable with the scene, especially due, at times, to the hostility and downright nastiness of the process. Whenever we address the topic, I hear from people who object to “mixing politics and religion.” With all due respect, I think they’re missing the larger picture.
God has dominion over every aspect of our lives, including our rulers and governing authorities. Our ultimate citizenship may be in Heaven, but for an all too brief season, we’re called to engage on an earthly level. And while we’re called to engage, we’re called to do so with a gentle and principled manner that stands in contrast to the ways of the world.
“Whatever you do,” wrote the Apostle Paul, “whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
Indeed, involvement in the public policy arena is a part of our Christian witness. We can easily sink into the political mudslinging if we allow our humanness to overtake the fruit of the Spirit, which is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Although it’s easy to be pulled into spirited conversations about contentious issues, we can’t forsake our Christian witness in order to win a political argument.
Jesus commands us to love our neighbor. Romans 13 says God created the institution of government to restrain evil and encourage human flourishing. So as citizens blessed to live in a representative democracy, we have an obligation to work toward the best government we can possibly have, for the benefit of all our “neighbors.”
In the aftermath of yesterday’s contentious election, as Christians absorb the results and look for the way forward, I am reminded of an insightful observation from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, a former Focus on the Family board member and beloved pastor.
Dr. Rogers once observed that the world often suggests that our problems – political, personal, social and emotional – are due to what we lack:
- Sociologists suggest we lack training.
- Educators suggest we lack knowledge.
- Evolutionists suggest we lack time.
- Geneticists suggest we lack ingredients.
- Environmentalists suggest we lack proper surroundings.
- Politicos and pundits suggest we lack the proper perspective or politician.
Yet, according to Dr. Rogers, it’s not what we lack that is the bigger concern– it’s what we possess, and that’s sin, a true bipartisan problem that Jesus came to solve and save us from.
As believers and citizens of both Heaven and earth, may we continue to see ourselves as agents for positive change in the culture who are here to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city” (Jeremiah 29:7).
And please join me in praying for wisdom for our newly elected representatives as they navigate an increasingly contentious culture.