Believers in the Midst of a Political Breakdown
First, Paul urges his readers to "live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:1-3). He goes on to explain that members of the Church will equip and build each other up, into unity, and that we will speak the truth in love, as each part does its work for the whole. Why? Because, Paul tells us, there is one body, one spirit, one Lord. There is one hope to which we were called…and this hope does not limit itself to wearing red or blue.
The chapter ends with this exhortation: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Eph. 4:29-32).
It seems too good to be true, but it's in our power to submit to Paul's command here. All who claim Jesus as Lord must try to put aside any bitterness, rage, anger, and slander. With God's help, we must enter this conversation with unwavering humility, gentleness, patience, peace, and love, as we are called. God's ethics don't rely on anger and slander. His justice can't come about through rage and bitterness.
If the host of our cable news show claims to be on God's side but does not resemble this passage, we should think twice. When we are posting to Facebook and do not take this instruction to heart, we should feel uncomfortable. As Ed Stetzer recently pointed out, when we as Christians add our words to public spaces, our top priority should be to uplift Jesus' agenda, not that of a political party.
With a two party system (and some might say a two-party media), it is inevitable that Christian brothers and sisters will disagree politically. But this disagreement must not become disunity. It should be clear to our neighbors inside and outside the faith that for Christians there are different and powerful rules for dialogue. We should be known for our agility in maneuvering through hard issues with love, wisdom, and solidarity. We must humbly serve those who disagree with us. We ought to make quite certain that the information and accusations we entertain are truthful. We must bring grace and understanding to the table rather than polarizing stereotypes.
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