“Two things I don’t talk about are politics and religion.” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this and I don’t know how many times I’ve wondered if anyone could get through a week without talking about something in either area. If they can, they are much more creative than I. This post was born from recent reading in Jeremiah, Wikipedia sources on Christians who hold certain conspiracy theories, and thoughts about the current war in the Ukraine.
My thoughts concerning the title of this article continue to change as life rolls along but I want to share with you where I am right now. Just how does a Christian view the contrasting effects of politics and their beliefs about God in their daily lives? It is a question that could fill an entire book but I’ll attempt to make it short and sweet here using only a few realities in our world.
The first reality is the war in Ukraine. If a Christian wants to hold a position or opinion about a war, they should do what anyone else would do, and that’s to attempt to find out the facts. One would think that, with all of the communication we have these days, this would be an easy task. It is not always the case. Propaganda abounds as each side tries to make its case. In Ukraine’s case, a country has invaded another country and has killed innocent civilians who had no interest in politics except that they wanted to live a free and undisturbed life. Their country has been torn apart by bombs sent by a leader with odd ambitions and have been dropped by those who are willing to follow his orders.
As a Christian, I look at the words of a godly prophet who preceded Jeremiah who said:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Anyone can make the situation in Ukraine as complicated as they wish but, in light of this Bible passage, a Christian’s support for justice for the innocent is warranted.
A definition of “politics” can easily be found online:
“the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.”
It is obvious to me that justice must play a role in a definition like the one above. Thus, Christians need to be involved in certain aspects of politics.
Jesus was very clear about the civic duty of paying one’s taxes. He was not saying that all having government powers are righteous or just. He knew the book of Jeremiah well, having inspired it, where we find these words against Babylon, no question a political entity, written at the height of its power:
“cut it off, so that there will be nothing dwelling in it, whether man or beast, but it will be a perpetual desolation.”
Jesus knew that the picture of Babylon above would eventually be a reality and, from reading Jeremiah 51, it is obvious that the ruins of Babylon are a result of rebellion against God and His people, a second reality.
God’s people rebelled against Him so he allowed a political solution to help them learn a lesson; Nebuchadnezzar would grow strong and take Israel into captivity. Eventually, the evil in the Babylonian empire would cause them to be destroyed to the degree seen in the photo here at the top. It is a picture of God’s justice. The sovereignty of God is at play here but that is a deep subject for another day.
There are always two sides to a coin. Jesus was very clear on paying taxes but he was silent when asked to defend himself, a third reality. From a human standpoint, it seems that Jesus had every right to defend himself against false accusations of any political nature (which are hard to separate from accusations of a personal nature if one reads the definition of politics above). But, he didn’t. I would submit that we should generally defend ourselves from false accusations because they do neither us nor our accusers any good. In Jesus’ case, his silence was the best thing for all involved including all of humanity. It displays how God’s position as King of King and Lord of Lords is cemented forever. The reason for his silence is explained in Hebrews 2:
“But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.“
Thus, God’s pronouncement that:
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts”
The Christian must accept that his/her understanding is limited so his/her wisdom regarding politics and religion and how they should interrelate is limited as well. At the same time, the Christian makes an effort to understand and make the best decisions he/she can in light of God’s Word.
Christians, or anyone else for that matter, will never figure out complete justice in politics or religion. In the end, complete justice will be decided by God. It is something we should ponder seriously but we should never put ourselves in the eventual role of God.
Just go out there and do the best you can, asking for the help of God, of course.