Novelist and journalist Martha Gellhorn – one of the great war correspondents of the 20th century and one of only five journalists honored with their own U.S. postage stamp – is quoted as saying, “People often say, with pride, ‘I’m not interested in politics.’ They might as well say ‘I’m not interested in my standard of living, my health, my job, my rights, my freedoms, my future or any future.’ …If we mean to keep any control over our world and lives, we must be interested in politics.”
I posted that on Facebook, and one of my friends commented that all of the fighting and focus on money in politics makes government “too messy and tense” for her. She preferred to love her neighbor, take care of her family, and not be involved in politics. She added that “Most folks I know are still voting and still hold opinions. They just aren’t willing to get into a debate about their personal opinion or potentially end a relationship over political views.”
Christians have been taught to take that approach, but it is not a biblical teaching. Christ told his followers to take the light of His holiness and glory into the darkness of evil. After all, even the light from a single candle is more powerful than the deepest darkness. Unfortunately, too many Christians won’t voluntarily go into situations that are uncomfortable, that are messy – situations where fighting, corruption, and back-stabbing abound – situations like politics. They have chosen to quietly hide within their comfort zones rather than do the uncomfortable things to which they have been called. They do not realize that they risk losing their comforts when they don’t do the uncomfortable things necessary to preserve them.
Anything to which Christians have failed to bring the light of Christ invariably goes to the devil, and if you’ve noticed the news lately, Congress has certainly gone to the devil. There are Christians in politics (and the media), but there are not nearly enough of them. Too many Christians don’t want to pay the price necessary to do what Christ told them to do. Someone might confront them on their ideas; they might have to give up something; they might even be attacked. There is a price to pay to be a genuine Christian. But James 1:2-4 tells us to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” It seems as though God wants us – for our own good – to go through trials and testing. If Christians are wise, they can help bring sanity to our government and benefit from the trials involved in doing so.
Perhaps our creature comforts are interfering with our spiritual eyes. Compare the thinking of American Christians with a young woman named Mahalat who was born in Ethiopia, abandoned by her parents as a child, and adopted out of abject poverty at age 11 by a Christian American family. She spoke at the Young Black Leadership Summit at the White House earlier this year. When she stood at the podium in front of not just the attendees but also President Trump and Vice-President Pence she fearlessly spoke her convictions when she said,
“I’m not really good with prayers or anything like that, but I just want to say thank you, Mr. President. I know we have a political warfare right now, but I strongly believe that it is a spiritual one as well… And I want to make sure that, I mean, I know that Americans are gonna wake up, and we’re gonna get back to looking to God instead of social media, and we’re gonna look back to Jesus because Jesus saves and this country was founded upon the Constitution, was built on Godly principles, and we’re gonna fight for that… And I just want to encourage you guys to pray every day for this nation.”
She is not polished, and she is not proud, but when she was placed in a position where she could speak light and truth into the lives of politicians and policy makers, she did so without hesitation. We are not facing political warfare; we are facing spiritual warfare in our government, and Christians avoid involvement in government despite the huge need for them to be there. Christians have a duty to do more than vote and speak truth to policy makers. Christians need to quit making pious excuses and get off their knees (or their duffs, whichever they happen to be using for support) and put feet to their prayers. Christians need to become politicians and policy makers so that they can be in a position to shed light into the furthest corners of darkness.
All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men and women to do nothing. Christians have been bullied and misled into doing nothing for far too long. It’s time to light some fires in the darkness.
Steve “Doc” Troxel, Ph.D.