The Divided States of America

Last weekend, I went to a regional Scottish festival with my family. I thought it was a great event to build a greater sense of community until I saw two booths. One was passing out Bush stickers and encouraging people to vote. The other was doing the same thing for John Kerry. I thought to myself, “Why are these guys here?” Then as I walked around and noticed people wearing different stickers, I suddenly felt weird being around people with stickers supporting the other guy. I had taken a sticker from the lady, and I guess that made me feel compelled to wear it. Why did I suddenly look at people wearing the “wrong” sticker and feel anger toward them? I saw a few older men wearing the “wrong” sticker and though, “Well, I guess grey hair is not always a sign of wisdom.”

As I stopped and noticed my sinful thoughts and feelings, I repented right there on the spot. I asked God to fill me with love even for those who advocate policies and candidates that I strongly oppose. I looked at one of the men and said to myself, “I love that man because God does.” Why do feelings seem to run so strong this election year? At the end, aren’t we all living in the same country? Or maybe that’s the problem.

When talking about politics, I have begun to tell people that I am a registered Theocrat. I tell them that I would love to write in Jesus on my ballot. Every election, I end up voting for the worse of multiple evils. My King is not of this world. I wait for Him to establish His Kingdom. Until then, I am just a steward learning how to get ready for His government. I can honestly say that no matter how righteous a candidate may seem, he or she is evil. The Bible is clear that there is none good, no not one. All men and women have fallen short of God’s glory. Now that doesn’t make my vote for a man wrong. I make the best of bad situation.

My position as a theocratic keeps me from getting too worried about the outcome of any one election. Sure, I vote and participate as a good citizen. I pray for leaders and ask for God to guide the U.S.A. But why should I worry? If satan could not destroy God’s plans after trying non-stop for thousands of years, what makes me think that one bureaucrat can thwart God’s plan or timetable? If the devil himself is a pawn in God’s grand plan, why couldn’t a misguided politician be one too?

No matter how someone votes or thinks, God loves them. We should treat everyone with love. We do not have to all agree to live in peace with each other.

Jesus lived during politically charged times. There were partisan groups, political compromise and intense debate over how best to deal with Roman rule. There were those who called for moral purity. There were those who focused on being pragmatic and lining their pockets. There were those who tried to walk the center of the road. People were persecuted and divided.

One of the great sources of unity in Israel at that time was the temple, and Jesus directly attacked it. He introduced the concept of a living temple and even predicted that the existing temple would be destroyed. Jesus’ words about the temple were treasonous and divisive to many in the crowd.

Jesus spoke about being united with God. But division on the earth did not seem to really concern him. He came to ignite division if it brought people into alignment with divine purposes and the glory of God. Interestingly, the only time Jesus met political leaders was when he was in chains before Pilate and Herod. During his earthly ministry, Jesus never sought to curry favor with religious or political leaders. He seemed content to focus on those people abandoned by everyone else.

How do you be a good Theocrat? Simple – love God first and your neighbor as yourself.

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