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.