People can be very passionate about their beliefs. Religion and politics are two of the areas where people can become the most passionate, sometimes too much so, resulting in arguments and division.
Most Christians are familiar with the oft quoted passage from Matthew 22:20-22, when the Pharisees tried to trip Jesus up by engaging him in a political debate:
“‘Whose image and inscription is this?’ he asked them. ‘Caesar’s,’ they said to him. Then he said to them, ‘Give, then, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ When they heard this, they were amazed. So, they left him and went away.”
As we enter into the homestretch of the 2020 election season, we would do well to remember Jesus’ words. We should also think about what we personally can be doing to prepare, and what our churches can be doing. Here are few things to think about:
Educate yourself. Know the Bible and where God stands on the issues. The Apostle Paul wasn’t afraid to engage the culture, but he knew where God stood on the issues, and Paul stood right there with him. Our culture believes each individual has their own truth. As Christians we know God is the only truth. Remember the old saying: if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
Diversify. Don’t follow a single media source. Read and watch multiple sources to see things presented from different points of view and to get the whole story. As you watch, don’t let your emotions sway you. Your ultimate guide is the Bible, not emotions which can easily cloud judgment.
Mask-to-mask discussion. We all find ourselves in political discussions with friends across the table or some other way in-person. When you do, think very carefully, and pursue sound, well-reasoned discussion backed up by facts and most importantly, the Bible. You don’t want to hurt your friendship or witness.
Social media. How do you use your voice on social media? Some are keyboard warriors while others seek to be a unifying force. Join groups that share your interests and follow candidates to stay up-to-date. Don’t agitate or argue with others. You most likely won’t persuade them, instead you’ll just make them angry.
Pray for Springfield, or Illinois, or the USA. During the abbreviated Spring 2020 legislative session, Rep. Dave Severin asked Illinoisans of all denominations and political parties to come together in the House gallery to sit quietly in prayer as it was meeting. This effort can be duplicated at local government meetings and from homes while viewing government meetings online or on television.
Postcard prayers. The Illinois chapter of Concerned Women for America provides 12 months worth of preprinted postcards to mail to state and local officials. A prayer is printed on the card—you just sign your name below it and drop it in the mail. Included with the cards is information about the official, their duties, and the area they serve. Visit ConcernedWomen.org for more information.
Voter guides. In some races it’s easy to find out candidates’ views on issues, but not always. Organizations such as the Illinois Family Institute, Illinois Right to Life Action, and others publish voter guides prior to primary and major elections. Visit IllinoisFamily.org and IllinoisRightToLifeAction.org to find out how to get copies.
Become a polling place. Many churches serve as polling places for their communities. If your church would be willing to serve the community in this way, contact your county clerk’s office and tell them about the church building’s availability on election day. They just might need another polling place in your area.
Remember, no matter where we stand politically or how divided our nation may seem, we are brothers and sisters in Christ and will live together with him in eternity.
Lisa Misner is IBSA’s manager of social media and public policy. This article also appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of Resource Magazine.