If I had to summarize how I feel about this election year and our presidential candidates, it’d be something like this:
I’m disappointed, and concerned about the future of our country.
Recently, I went to Washington D.C. with my wife and two of our friends, for a day of prayer and worship at the National Mall. I found myself wondering, how exactly should I engage in politics as a Christian living in America?
Several times this year, I’ve found myself bashing other’s political opinions, belittling candidates and their policies, or becoming enraged with anger over the lies being spread by the media. Too often, my response hasn’t felt Christ-like, which I deeply regret.
As Christians living in America, how exactly are we to engage in politics? I believe the answer is in remembering where our primary responsibility lies first and foremost.
Citizens of Heaven, Ambassadors for Christ
In his second letter to the Christians living in Corinth, Greece, the Apostle Paul wrote this:
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV
What’s an ambassador?
An ambassador is someone who represents one nation to another. In ancient times, an ambassador would bring a message to another king on behalf of his own king. The message could be to congratulate, seek favors, make a treaty, or protest an action. (For biblical examples, see Numbers 20:14, 1 Kings 5:1, Judges 11:12.)
The ambassador’s primary objective was to adequately represent his king’s character and message to the nation he was sent to.
Which begs the question, is that our chief objective as ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ?
Which kingdom do our words and actions represent first and foremost: the Kingdom of Heaven, or the United States of America? Which kingdom and King do we care more about?
I love America, and am incredibly grateful to have been born in this country. And although many of America’s founding fathers believed in the existence of God, the United States is not a Christian nation created by God to represent Jesus Christ to the world – The Church is that nation with that mission.
The Apostle Peter wrote the following to Christians living throughout the Roman Empire in the first century A.D.:
…you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9 ESV)
As Christians, we are ambassadors for Christ whom are momentarily living in a foreign land. Our primary mission is to represent our King well so that others may be reconciled to God. Our chief goal is to accurately representative Jesus and His Kingdom in this world to others, offering them the same forgiveness, love, and reconciliation we have received from God.
We are citizens first and foremost of another Kingdom, Christ’s Kingdom. When we forget this truth, we start acting and behaving like other people engaged in political debates, fighting, bickering, and ultimately betraying our King’s message and mission.
Yes, we need to be actively engaged ambassadors in our country – who understand the founding laws of this land that make our nation unique – so that we can do good through politics. But we must not forget whom we are representing first and foremost.
When you see a Facebook post whose political stance you disagree with, will you respond with gentleness and humility, or in rage and malice? (Ephesians 4:31)
When you go to vote for a candidate, will you vote for a candidate whose policies blatantly contradict the ways of your King? (The Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 is a great starting point and filter to gauge this.)
When you’re tempted to curse the President for decisions you don’t agree with, will you pray and ask God to give our country’s leaders wisdom and mercy, instead? (1 Timothy 2:1-6)
But most of all remember that you are a citizen of Heaven and an ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ, whose primary mission is to represent your King and share His message of love and reconciliation with the world.
May your words and actions represent Him well.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…” – Philippians 3:20 ESV