Straining at a Gnat: Thoughts on Christians and Politics

Straining at a Gnat: Thoughts on Christians and Politics

If I was to choose a verse for my life it would be Matthew 7:24. My aim is to build every facet of my life around Jesus Christ. This includes my views on government, politics, and voting. I have observed countless Christians from all points of the political divide endorse Trump, endorse Clinton, endorse Johnson, endorse writing in a name, and endorse not voting at all. Almost all of these would claim the authority of Scripture and claim to oppose their thinking would be borderline, if not outright, sin. However, my question must be, “What did my Savior say?”

It is this question that has drastically changed the way I view our nation and politics in general. If you recall, it was Jesus’ “followers” who were so excited that their king was riding a donkey into Jerusalem to overthrow the Roman government just as prophesied. Boy, were they wrong! When Jesus was not their political Savior they turned on Him and demanded His crucifixion. The very people who wanted Jesus to overthrow the Romans turned to the Romans to overthrow Jesus. Let that sink in for a moment. Jesus refused on numerous occasions to be a political Savior. Similarly the Apostles, including a Roman citizen like Paul, followed Jesus’ example and refused to advocate politics as means of saving the world, much less a nation.

In writing to Roman citizens in Rome, Paul completely avoids politics as a means of transforming the Roman empire. Instead, he followed the example of Christ and focused on the Gospel instead. In fact he went so far as to say that “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight.” In other words, laws cannot bring the favor of God upon people. Obviously his main point is that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ. Let all of that sink in as it relates to politics. Laws cannot bring the favor of God on our nation. Even if Roe v. Wade was overturned people would still slaughter their children. Even if Obergefell was overturned homosexuality would still be rampant in our nation. It is not laws on the books that merit God’s favor; it is only individual repentance and faith in Christ that justifies a man.

This is why Jesus preached the Gospel not ran for office. This is why Jesus refused to be made king but instead spent time with drunks and prostitutes. This is why the only recorded discussion we have from John the Baptist concerning Herod was Herod’s adultery. If Herod’s soul was saved, his policies would be transformed as well. This should be a major point of consideration for all Christians.

Jesus also preached the Kingdom of God not the saving of a nation. The Jews wanted to restore Israel; Jesus wanted to restore the whole world. The Jewish leaders were more concerned with losing their place and their nation than they were losing their own souls or even the soul of those around them. Jesus said that His Kingdom was not of this world and that His servants would not fight for an earthly kingdom. Paul told Timothy to not entangle himself with the affairs of this world. The author of Hebrews reminded believers that they were citizens of a heavenly kingdom and only aliens in their earthly nations.

On top of this, the Bible hardly gives any credence to any favorable outcome coming from voting. Almost every example of voting in Scripture results in disaster. The Bible actually speak higher of casting lots than voting. Voting is built on the idea that the majority is right. However, in Scripture it is usually the extreme minority that is right.

What should we make of all this? I believe that the church of today is largely straining at gnats and swallowing camels. We have made the greatest commandment “Vote Republican.” In fact many people would equate your love for God as to whether you vote Republican. Some would equate love for neighbor with voting Democrat. I would say that if you were to take the Scripture as a whole, voting is such a minute thing that it literally is not mentioned once as a Christian duty. It is really a less significant gnat than tithing your salt and pepper.

Let me put it to you this way, Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel.” If you drive past a homosexual to vote for a marriage amendment instead of stopping to love him and share the Gospel with him you have strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel. Jesus would have stopped and loved the homosexual to bring him out of his sin as opposed to passing by on the other side of the road to vote against his lifestyle. If you drive past a homeless man to vote for someone who will cut entitlements or even increase them you have strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel. Jesus would have stopped and helped the poor man. If you vote for only pro-life candidates but refuse to volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center, are unwilling to do foster care or adopt, and won’t help a single mom financially you have just strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel.

Abortion began long before Roe v. Wade, and it will continue long after it is overturned. However, actually caring for scared, hurting, and broken women will do far more to stem the American Holocaust that is abortion far more than voting ever has. Remember the Germans who hid and housed Jews? They were the ones who made a difference. It was not all the people waiting for the next election while watching the slaughter continue.

If you want to vote in November, go ahead. Just remember that your vote is so holy that God never mentioned it once in Scripture. I will vote, but I do not plan on making my vote the only thing I do to make a difference. In fact, I consider my vote the most insignificant thing I can do to advance the Kingdom of God.

Please consider this. How different would our nation be if we prayed for the salvation of those running for office as opposed to constantly repeating all of their flaws? What if you agreed to fast for a meal for the salvation of a candidate every time their name came out of your mouth? What if you actually cared for the poor out of your own pocket as opposed to considering your one vote every few years as the way you loved your neighbor? If you were given an opportunity to sit down with a political leader would you talk about their soul or their policies, or even worse would you fawn over them? What if you prayed, fasted, and loved your neighbor in tangible ways? What if you quit viewing the other side as “the enemy” and instead loved them enough to share the Gospel with them? Instead of voting to keep marijuana illegal or make it legal, why not spend time helping drug addicts get clean? What if we spent as much time caring for our neighbor’s soul as we did ranting about politics? Wouldn’t we live in a far better nation? If we spent the same amount of time, money, and effort that we spend on politics on preaching the Gospel, abolishing sex trafficking, alleviating world hunger, etc. what could we accomplish? I could go on and on, but I hope that you get the point.

Are you following the example of Jesus and the Apostles, or are you nothing more than one who would use Jesus to restore your vision of a nation? Please remember that nations rise and fall; that is why our allegiance is to the Kingdom of God. Christ’s Kingdom still stands long after the fall of the Roman Empire. Why would we labor to hold together iron and clay as opposed to joining the mountain that encompasses the whole earth (Daniel 2:43-44)? This is straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

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