Can A Political Party Stand Between You And Jesus?

Can A Political Party Stand Between You And Jesus? February 5, 2024

It’s February, the hardest month of the year if you homeschool or live in a cold climate. It’s so dark and short and so cold and long at the same time and somewhere in the middle, usually around the 16th,  I’m always sure I had better give up. But then, I suppose by the grace of God, I manage to pull out of the ennui and go into cold and windy March after all. Lately though, as the West has fallen into its own kind of dark spiritual coldness by altering the definition of the word most associated with February–Love–I’ve found ways to enjoy myself after all.

As I was driving home from church yesterday, I noticed that some people who had removed their “Love is Love, Kindness is Everything, Water is Life, Science is Real” signs during the summer had quietly put them back, and one person carefully placed a big heart next to their extravaganza of tautologies upon which was emblazoned the word “Kind.” How apt, I thought. For, when love is love and kindness is everything, you have said everything you ever hoped to say, which, tragically, is nothing at all.

So anyway, when I saw that Preston Sprinkle was trying to warn off the wrong kinds of Christians from engaging in our useless political process, I was, as they say, here for it. He tweeted this:

Christians: if your favorite political party causes you to not love your neighbor or enemy, your party is standing between you and Jesus.

The funny thing about this is the idea that anyone, at this stage of the game, would have a “favorite political party.” Both of the parties are the same party, but I guess if you prefer one expression of political corruption over the other, that’s fine. Where is the sign that says, “Politics is Politics, the RNC and the DNC are the same so why do we even care anymore”–I would buy that sign, if I was the kind of person who felt the need to express myself through the use of signs.

Also, I love the idea that a political party could “cause” you to do something. Political parties shouldn’t be the governors of your every day actions, and, in the long distant past, they weren’t. Ordinary people went out to their feilds and churned their butter without caring at all what kind of politicking was going on in places where laws were made. At the same time, of course, everything is political. People are inherently political. They jostle and negotiate their lives politically. How a local church organizes itself is deeply political. The curious thing is that God holds all the hearts of all people like streams of water, directing them where he wills. Christians should be mindful of this and not think that all their motivations and plans are of God. How they act and react both in small situations and big ones do matter.

Our church needs an elevator. We’re not going to be able to just pray and then sit around on our hands waiting for an elevator to appear. We’re going to have to argue, discuss, take votes, raise money, argue some more, and also, in the midst of it all, pray and trust God to do what he thinks his best. God uses human politics all the time to accomplish his own will in the world. But that doesn’t mean that “politics”–undefined by Preston Sprinkle in this tweet might cause you to do one thing or another.

Of course, we see that the real substance of the thing is “love your neighbor or your enemy.” That is the heart of all our discord. What does the word “love” mean in that phrase? Too many Christians have been lulled into this ruinous idea that “loving your neighbor” is something that can be organized for you by Preston Sprinkle or Anthony Faucci or even Donald Trump. The word “love” ought to mean to do good for another person no matter the personal cost to you. The best example we have of love in the Bible is when Jesus went to the cross and died for the sins of the world, defeating death and providing a way for sinners not to die, but to live forever with him through faith. That’s, as it were, the standard for biblical love. That’s where you look first to judge whether or not you are loving your neighbor. Love, when measured by the work of Christ, includes things like telling the truth, giving sacrificially, caring for the bodily needs of people with your own hands and your own wallet, praying for people who are beyond your help, and sharing the good news of the Gospel with anyone you happen to meet. Love, in the sense we’re talking about here, is not your good feelings for your niehbor, it’s not your vote at the next election, its not your feelings of compassion for someone that so overgrow you become unable to tell that person hard truths about the nature of reality. It also definitly never includes attending a “wedding” of two people of the same sex.

I disapprove, to put it in the strongest possible terms, of someone like Preston Sprinkle trying to use Jesus to scare Christians into voting a certain way. If you, after all of the last four years, still go out and vote for Donald Trump, you will be–if I understand the depth and breadth of what he is saying–separated from the Lord Jesus. That is not how any of this works. When you put your faith in Jesus, when you give yourself to him, niether height nor depth nor angels nor powers nor principalities have the power to separate you from him. Your vote, be it wrong or right, will not send you to hell. What will send you to hell is not trusting in the work of the Savior on the Cross for the forgiveness of your sins.

So anyway, have a nice day and check out my substack for more tips on how to get through February.

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