For those of us seeking peaceful engagement in politics this election year, we’ll have to understand how much God cares about unity. Like any parent, God our Father wants his sons and daughters to love one another. He wants us to be unified in our quest to serve Him and glorify Him.
We know this to be true from John 17.23 as Jesus prayed to the Father before his crucifixion:
“I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. “
In our current political moment, we Christians are not sending a message to the world that proclaims Jesus as our Lord and Unifier. We have placed politicians over our place within the family of God. Our political affiliation has turned Christian family members into foes, sending the opposite message to the world than the one God intended. Recent elections – with the help of social media – have told the world that Christians are just as divided as everyone else, and that our faith does nothing to quell anger and division.
What can we do about it this election year?
First and foremost, we have to realize that the unity Jesus prayed for has nothing to do with who we vote for. Christians do not have to vote the same! Real unity is about standing together as agents of God’s love in the world. The best way to do that is to show love to one another and avoid division at all costs. So keep your vote to yourself. A friend of mine once asked me who I had voted for and I refused to tell her even though I knew she would have approved. “Voting booths are private for a reason,” I said.
Second, we should agree that a party platform is not holy writ. No matter who’s in office, or what the SCOTUS hands down, or what bills are signed by Congress, our Father’s instruction transcends them all. We must work harder to be united and public about what it means to love our neighbors as ourselves even if it ticks off our political friends. Family over them.
Being loyal to God and his family has nothing to do with being a Republican or a Democrat. It has nothing to do with promoting a politician so he can do our moral bidding. It has everything to do with being a united front, promoting Jesus Christ as our unifying Savior.