When Chaos is a Political Strategy

On one of my early trips to the former Soviet Union country of Moldova, I inquired of the driver/translator about the recent parliamentary elections. I had read that it was a close, hotly contested political battle in which conservatives won a narrow victory over the communist opposition.

Always interested in cultural expressions, I asked, “So what happens now that the election is over? Will they declare a truce and work together?” With a hearty laugh, he replied, “No, Brother! The opposition now will do everything they can to to spoil the plans of the party in power. They will never work with them.”

That was twenty or so years ago, and I’m embarrassed to say that I felt a little smug as an American citizen, and assured my friend (who asked his own question) that in our nation the parties “reach across the aisle” and work together for the good of all. I blush to think how naive I was.

Needless to say, times have changed, and what is happening today in our nation is a lot like what happens even in the banana republics and the nations known as the most corrupt. You don’t have to be a supporter of the current administration to know this. You just have to be awake. It’s everywhere and it’s brashly stated and relentless.

These tactics are not new. The history of war, and books like Machiavelli’s The Prince and Hitler’s Mein Kampf reflect these strategies of demonizing opponents and pulling them down, all with a view to seizing power for themselves, not for the good of the people.

Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (head of China’s communist party from 1949 until his death in 1973) famously put it this way, “Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent.” The power-hungry everywhere smell blood in the water when a culture is confused and divided. And they stoke the chaos for their own gain. Deception, lies, and even opposing today what they supported yesterday is common.

Jesus calls us to an apolitical righteousness to call good, good, and evil, evil, wherever we find them, and never lie to gain an advantage. He faced an uphill climb with his own disciples, explaining over and over that while the Gentiles grasp for power by any means, that is not our way. Matthew 18:1-4; 20:20-28; Mark 9:33-37; Luke 22:24-27

So how should believers process all this? We are called upon to be discerning and to apply righteousness in every aspect of life, including our politics. We no longer can afford to think in terms a simple, superficial choice between two well-meaning political parties.

That means we can’t hide in idealistic denial. These are not the 50’s. We live in times when rioting and looting are described by the media as “mostly peaceful protests,” “law and order” is “racist,” and burning municipal buildings is a “demonstration.” Chairman Mao would be proud.

Remember that everything has a source, including chaos. Satan, not God, is the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). Ask yourself why anyone would think abolishing police departments is a good idea in a fallen world. Then ask yourself if it is right to support those whose primary political strategy is “Resist!” You’ll figure out what to do.

“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.
But you are not to be like that.
Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest,
and the one who rules like the one who serves.”
Luke 22:25, 26

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