When to Get Nasty about Politics

Is it okay to get nasty about politics?

Politics get dirty, and this campaign season is probably going to be as bad as it’s ever been. The editor of Time magazine predicts that the 2012 presidential campaign ”is likely to be the most expensive political campaign in U.S. history — and perhaps the most negative.” As things get costlier, nastier, and dirtier how should Christians respond? Amidst the frenzy of furious pundits, talk show rants, and negative campaign ads, it’s easy to get caught up in the melee. Should Christians get nasty about politics?

Questions about Politics

To determine if, when, or why to get nasty about politics, ponder these questions:

  • Do political issues make you angry? Is this a righteous anger? For real?
  • Do you think of your fellow believers as opponents due to their different stance on political issues?
  • Do you find yourself thinking negative or even hurtful thoughts about political candidates with whom you disagree?
  • Do you give more praise or attention to political candidates than to God? More trust?
  • Do you give more time and attention to political issues than you do to God’s Word, to fellowshipping with believers, or to worship?

Many of us could answer “yes” to at least one of the questions above. Politics sometimes brings out some undesirable behavior. Somehow, when we get passionate about politics, we tend to neglect proper Christian behavior and Christlike conduct. Does politics truly give us a pass on right living?

The Proper Posture toward Politics

There are extremes of behavior when responding to politics. Some, on the one hand, totally reject having anything to do with civil government. Some Christians even refuse to pay income tax! On the other hand, some Christians act as if  the right civil government will save the world from sin and perdition. Along the way, we all run the risk of becoming belligerent, feisty, and downright nasty about our particular viewpoint.

What is the proper posture toward politics? The Bible permits a variety of viewpoints on a variety of issues, but one issue is clear:  personal demeanor and actions matter. Here are just a few commands we read in the Bible:

  • Put away bitterness (Eph 4.31)
  • Put away wrath (Eph 4.31)
  • Put away anger (Eph 4.31)
  • Put away clamor (Eph 4.31)
  • Put away slander (Eph 4.31)
  • Put away all malice (Eph 4.31)
  • Be kind to one another (Eph. 4:32)
  • Be…tenderhearted (Eph. 4:32)
  • Be…forgiving one another (Eph. 4:32)
  • Put on…compassionate hearts (Col 3:12)
  • Put on…kindness (Col 3:12)
  • Put on…humility (Col 3:12)
  • Put on…meekness (Col 3:12)
  • Put on…patience (Col 3:12)

It’s okay to get excited about political issues. You are permitted to be excited for your preferred candidate. However, Scripture never says it’s okay to become mean-spirited, vengeful, malicious. Never. Ever.

Getting Nasty about the Right Things

Maybe we need to get nasty about the nastiness. In other words, maybe it’s time to react against such lamentable personal behavior about politics. Maybe it’s time to possess national fervor without ungodly fury. Maybe it’s time to become more prayerful than passionate about our favorite candidate. Maybe it’s time to repent of our national sins rather than getting more riled up about “issues.” Maybe it’s time to call out the hypocrisy of Christians who declare their passion for God, while acting out a parody of godly behavior.

As Christians live out their faith in the public square, God does not permit slander, wrath, and bitterness. As we prepare for one of the nastiest political seasons in American history, let it be our goal to show Christ in the most pure way possible, putting all the ugliness aside. This is one campaign that is sure to come out victorious.

8 Responses to “When to Get Nasty about Politics”

  1. Angie August 14, 2012 at 5:05 am #

    Well said!

  2. David Geier August 14, 2012 at 6:29 am #

    Under the law a man could not be king and priest. You could be a prophet and a king as David was or you could be a prophet and a priest but not a king and priest. King Uzziah tried it and his pride destroyed him.

    2Ch 26:16 But when he became powerful, his pride destroyed him. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God. He went into the LORD’S temple to burn incense on the incense altar.
    2Ch 26:17 The priest Azariah went in after him with 80 of the LORD’S courageous priests.
    2Ch 26:18 They opposed King Uzziah. They said to him, “Uzziah, you have no right to burn incense as an offering to the LORD. That right belongs to the priests, Aaron’s descendants, who have been given the holy task of burning incense. Get out of the holy place because you have been unfaithful. The LORD God will not honor you for this.”
    2Ch 26:19 Uzziah, who held an incense burner in his hand, became angry. While he was angry with the priests, a skin disease broke out on his forehead. This happened in front of the priests in the LORD’S temple as Uzziah was at the incense altar.
    2Ch 26:20 When the chief priest Azariah and all the priests turned toward him, a skin disease was on his forehead. They rushed him away. Uzziah was in a hurry to get out because the LORD had inflicted him with the disease.
    2Ch 26:21 King Uzziah had a skin disease until the day he died. Since he had a skin disease, he lived in a separate house and was barred from the LORD’S temple. His son Jotham was in charge of the royal palace and governed the country.

    You can’t mix the ministry and politics. It will eat you up.

    • Matt August 14, 2012 at 9:19 am #

      David,
      I not sure if we should speak so quick to say they shouldn’t mix. When the kings of Israel were faithful the nation was rewarded with prosperity and strength. When David wanted bread, he was given the “bread of the presence”(Sam. 21). When the pharaoh prevented Israel from worshiping, he experienced the wrath of God…involving Moses (a priest and king).
      What was the point of Samuel? Wasn’t he directly involved in political consulting through the divine inspiration of God?
      I agree that one should not try to be both a priest and a king at the same time, but that doesn’t mean that the faithful cannot, or should not be directly involved with political things. We are the salt of the earth and we must be involved in the direction of our nation.

      • Lonnie William Craig August 17, 2012 at 7:33 am #

        Matt-

        As long as we are realistic in what politics can and cannot do, I agree. I shudder sometimes when I see the Christian Right speak as if politics is the only thing that will save our country. “Elect the right people, crush the opposition, and we can establish the Kingdom of God on earth,” is an impression I get when I listen to some of them.

        We are fallen human beings that are being conformed to Christ’s image and although we must always strive to reach that goal, we will never fully get there until the REAL Kingdom of God is set up. Until then, let’s understand what we can and cannot accomplish.

  3. Andrea August 14, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    I totally agree with the article. I follow politics, but the word of God is my guide in doing so. I read a book called the “Screw Tape Letters”, that gave me great perspective about Christianity and politics. The book describes the fine line between Christianity and Americanism. Christianity is being led by the Word of God and demonstrating the character of God, while Americanism is a projection of Christianity built on the freedoms of the constitution and patriotism. In Americanism patriotism is more important the living according to the principles of the Word of God.

  4. Ronald Videla August 14, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    Flawless. Fantastically written and an issue that needs to be addressed around election time. Good job you guys.

  5. Pam August 14, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    I agree with the above article, I cringe as a believer when I see slams about certain candidates on my fellow believer’s facebook posts. Quickly posting ‘clever’ slogan pictures that are defamatory or malicious against the candidate they don’t want to win office. I don’t know if they have any unbelieving friends out there, but I do know that the way FB works, friends of freinds are able to see some posts through the back door of looking at other pics posted. I especially cringe when these posts are promptly followed by “Christian pictures meant to glorify God”. Thank you for bringing to light the reality of campaigns that are all about mud slinging and how should we react from a Biblical stand point. Aren’t we called to be salt and light to a lost generation? How can we do that if our actions are no different than the world around us.

  6. Lonnie William Craig August 17, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    This is a well-stated article. I admit that I answered “yes” to at least two of the questions, and debated with myself on the third.

    The big problem I have is I just don’t know how a person can become heavily involved in the political world as a Christian without having to compromise their integrity and their Christian beliefs. When I see people post things like Pam said, it makes me cringe also and wonder, “Where was Jesus when they said this?” Sadly, I have wondered the same thing about myself.

    I am not saying we should never get involved. I am saying that when we do get involved, we are stepping into the lion’s den where those with whom you associate will have no qualms about tearing you to pieces. You might survive like Daniel, or you could get eaten alive. If you make the decision to get involved in politics, even if it just voting, be very careful that you do not become like the ones you are opposing or, in many cases, like the one you are supporting. As Pam said, if we act just like the world, we will never be able to be salt and light.

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