“Religion and Politics”

A few weeks ago in a devotional I referred to the often repeated statement, “We can discuss anything but religion and politics.” The saying hopes to keep peace in a family, workplace, or even a picnic.

If the person making that statement means the all-too-common scene of red-faced people ranting at one another, I would have to give a hearty “Amen!” The book of Proverbs is clear that there are many people who are either unwilling or unable to reason clearly, and so there is no point to such exchanges. Those are not discussions.

But we should make a distinction here. There are moral and spiritual issues which, one way or another, become politicized. Abortion is one. Racial equality before God is another. The right to defend one’s family and submission to civil authority are two more.

These are issues over which we should be having discussions, and not choosing up sides around candidates and political parties. That merely polarizes us more. In addition, there is a reasoned conversation to which God calls us as people made in His image.

“‘Come, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. . .” Isaiah 1:19
“Present your case. . .” Isaiah 41:21
“Review the past. . . let us argue the matter together.” Isaiah 43:26
“And so (Paul) reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews.” Acts 17:17
“And as (Paul) reasoned about righteousness. . .” Acts 24:25

Virtually whole books of the Bible are arguments, such as Romans and Hebrews, Habakkuk and Malachi, Galatians and 1 John, and even Philemon. Parts of many more books, such as Ephesians, Colossians, and the Pastoral Letters, also are arguments or proofs. God made us in His image so that we could dialogue about “religion and politics” in the purest sense of those words, and has given us minds to do so.

Religion has to do with how we relate to God and His Creation. Politics has to do with how we relate to our fellow-man. James 1:26, 27 identifies real religion with how we treat orphans and widows, behave, and even speak in the everyday world. Our life and faith are one.

Isn’t that why Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love God and people? Isn’t that the beauty of “The Golden Rule,” the essence of loving others in the way you know you want to be loved?

So, by all means, let’s not burst blood vessels trying to out-yell one another at the family reunion. But let’s not be so afraid of offending someone that we fail to bring God’s Word to bear lovingly on the only issues that matter and will matter for all eternity.

“Father, we ask your wisdom to speak the truth in love as we have opportunity. And we pray for our nation that people will seek the truth, and not merely fall into line behind a political ideology. Help us love one another as you have, in Jesus, loved us. Amen.”

One Response to ““Religion and Politics””

  1. Nancy Rose says:

    Pastor Bob,
    What a thought provoking blog today. In light of the happenings in our country at this time, every follower of Jesus should read these words. Thank you for your faithfullness to Jesus.

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