Blaming, Shaming and Avoiding: How Christians are Mishandling the Current Political Crisis
Love and honor have been abandoned by too many in this volatile political season.
It’s been said the two topics we should avoid around the family reunion dinner table are politics and religion. Of course, I disagree, but the point is well taken.
It’s nothing new that people tend to be more passionate about their political and spiritual positions than they are about guarding the hearts of the people they are debating with. Sadly this reality has reared its extremely ugly head again and again over the last year.
Have we forgotten the three primary reasons we are alive? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not to debate politics and it’s not to save America.
1. Love God
And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37–39, ESV)
2. Love People
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35, ESV)
As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:5, ESV)
Yes, there are many expressions of love including both tough and tender, but we need to understand that blaming and shaming our enemies are excluded. Anger expressed toward the liberal left will never win them to Jesus.
We Also Can’t Avoid Politics
Preachers avoiding politics from behind the pulpit and keyboard is like a police officer refusing to confront crime. It makes no sense. The police are authorized to make arrests and Christians are authorized to tear down strongholds.
We as Christians have been granted a level of spiritual authority that few will ever grasp. When culture is steeped in wickedness, we have no option but to expose the darkness.
Unrighteous laws, widespread corruption, the darkness of immorality and national evils must be dealt with, and Christians are those who are most authorized to do so.
Silence by passive preachers is a violation just as a fleshly, carnal response is. There’s a way to move in love and honor while bringing dangerous political and cultural agendas to light. To stay silent on the issue of abortion, for example, would be inexcusable. To spew venom toward those who affirm or even administer abortion would be equally inappropriate for followers of Jesus.
The Greater Sin
While avoiding the spiritual clash in today’s deeply wicked society is unfathomable, my opinion is that the greater sin is a wicked reaction guised in high-minded righteousness by believers in Jesus.
We must be aggressive with issues and tender towards people.
My heart is broken over the lack of revival in Hollywood, Nashville and Washington D.C. I think about people like Nancy Pelosi, Jim Carrey, Ellen Degeneres, Taylor Swift, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Alyssa Milano and hundreds of other influencers who are attacked non-stop by Christians because of their political positions.
Will they feel love by our mean-spirited assaults of righteous indignation? No.
I may write a separate article on this issue as it’s just wrecking my heart, but suffice it to say that I’m deeply grieved that so few celebrities and national leaders are falling in love with Jesus. Church, we are not handling their hearts well. Demonizing them will not win them.
Our Love for One Another
Rude, snarky and unloving behavior among Christians thrives on social media.
The moment a Christian is condescending and divisive on a Facebook thread is the moment their credibility is shot. While I understand we are living in a different era, there’s a part of me that yearns for yesteryear when yes sirs and yes ma’ams were indicative of respect in our culture.
Today it’s normal for followers of Jesus to attack, shame and ridicule anybody who disagrees with their viewpoints, especially when it comes to politics and religion. Many are unteachable, stone-hearted, immovable and more in love with their ideals then the people they are dialoguing with.
At the end of the day, I don’t care who the president is if we can’t discuss and debate with love and honor.
The Blame Game is Strong This Year
Possibly the best litmus test for spiritual health and maturity when it comes to politics and culture is blame. If we lash out and blame and accuse and attack others who believe differently than we do, we are not in a good place.
The moment we blame is the moment we create unnecessary division. We need to stop blaming President Biden, President Trump, teachers, parents and others who, in our opinion, are opposing our personal agendas or beliefs, no matter how righteous those beliefs are.
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44, ESV)
Don’t blame. Love. Pray. Don’t be an angry, complaining victim. Go low. Humble yourself. Serve. Contend for the souls of those who are making your life difficult. Again, be ruthless on issues, loving toward people.
There’s a better way, friends. Being mean-spirited isn’t it. Blaming doesn’t help. Shaming is simply cruel. People are more valuable than positions and agendas. Our enemies should be blessed and prayed for more than our friends.
The lyrics of a quirky and boldly honest bluegrass gospel song by Rhonda Vincent seem to fit here:
If you don’t love your neighbor
If you gossip about him, if you never have mercy
If he gets into trouble, and you don’t try to help him
Then you don’t love your neighbor
And you don’t love God
One more time: Deal strongly with issues and go out of your way to make sure people feel the love of Jesus. As we do this, we can most certainly hate evil, love good and establish justice in our nation.
Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate. (Amos 5:15, ESV)
John Burton is a sought-out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. He has authored ten books, is a regular contributor to Charisma Magazine, and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. He has planted two churches and has initiated two city prayer movements and a school of ministry.