Updated: Sep 15, 2020
Stacks of bodies had to be rolled into shallow trenches. Some of them were dads, brothers, and sons – from both sides. Some of them were moms, sisters, and daughters – from both sides. The air was perfumed with death. “When will this war stop?” many asked.
War is horror. Yet the same soil that drank blood from the Civil War in the 1800s is hosting what feels like another war today. Instead of the South against the North, it’s the Left against the Right. Instead of reading about it in History class, it’s in the daily paper, on the morning news, and across FB. Here’s what the faceoffs today sound like.
“You Democrats are evil,” the right side says.
“No, you Republicans are evil,” the left retorts.
“You’re brainwashed by Marxist education.”
“You’re brainwashed by the media because you have no education.”
“You fund baby murdering doctors and support violent protesters.”
“You fund cops who murder minorities and shoot down peaceful protesters.”
“If your side wins, we’ll be living under a communistic regime.”
“And if your side wins, we’ll be living under a dictatorship.”
Pastors are weighing in on political issues like never before. Court battles are being fought between churches and the state. Christians everywhere are in a tug-of-war between political parties who are both vying for their allegiance. With fingers stuck in their ears, voices are raised on both sides, collecting followers and sharpening divisions.
No wonder, the issues are boiling hot: abortion, racism, immigration, government funding, foreign policy, national defense, and on and on.
Which side should you support?
The Republicans are focused on national security, the lives of the unborn, financial frugality, American tradition, and capitalistic values. The Democrats are focused on social security, the lives of minorities, ecosystem frugality, and educational values. No small matters.
This is a war of sorts, and as in any war there is spilled blood and bloodguilt on both sides, so the purpose of this article is not to discuss which party is the “Christian” party, or to win you to my side by proving which side God is on, as if things were that simple.
The Right Answer to the Wrong Question
Both parties are concerned with the marginalized: the unborn on one side, and non-white-middle-class-straight-males on the other side. Both rightfully draw support from Scripture for protecting these groups. Both value logic and compassion. Both have professing Christians who use arguments from the Bible. And of course, both claim the other is illogical, without compassion, anti-Christian, and twisting Scripture to usher in the Anti-Christ era.
Many think the kingdom colors in this war are those voting red or blue, so they naturally ask God, “Are you for blue or red?” People have always wanted simple answers, as when Joshua asked Yahweh’s angel, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” What did God say?
“Neither. I’m the commander of Yahweh’s armies” (Josh. 5:13-14). God’s kingdom can’t be contained by a human government, even as Jesus isn’t a Republican or a Democrat. He’s something greater, with a wisdom that transcends all human agendas as far as the heavens are higher than the earth.
Both sides are right in some ways, and both sides are wrong in some ways.
Any manmade system will be a mixture of good and bad, having traces of morality and corruption. There is no pure Kool-Aid in this age. It’s all poisoned! But there are streams of living water sweeter than any drink, and they’re found only in Jesus.
Ultimate allegiance can’t be devoted to the left, just as supreme trust can’t be in the right. Blue and red aren’t the two kingdoms at war: it’s heaven and earth, God’s Messiah against man’s messiah. “Do not put your trust in princes,” Yahweh says, “in whom there is no salvation” (Ps. 146:3). This is probably the closest the Bible comes to mentioning the next American president.
So when someone follows Jesus they aren’t baptized as a Democrat or a Republican. Jesus didn’t tell his apostles to teach everyone to uphold Republican traditions or Democrat ideologies. When Jesus resurrected, he said, “All authority has been given to” – now listen carefully – “me” (Mat. 28:18). Not to the American president in 2020.
“Which side is the Christian side?” is the wrong question. The Christian side is the kingdom of heaven, and the king isn’t voted in, nor does he share his throne with anyone. We’re either for him, or against him, no matter how we vote.
The right question is, “How do we serve the true king?” Good question! Let’s see what he says.
Two Paths, Two Kingdoms
What we need are more opinions. We need louder arguments, smarter reasons, harsher language, more accusations, slander, force, and violence. Instead of launching words, we need bullets, missiles, and bombs. We need to kill and destroy more and more until we finally have things our way. The right way.
This is one path before us. It’s the well-worn path of the world led by the king of death. It’s the path of power, and it has one rule: the strongest get their way, while anyone who gets in the way is crushed. This is the common path, the easy path, the broad path that leads to destruction. And both parties are guilty of walking on it, but as Paul said about love, “I will show you a still more excellent way” (1 Cor. 12:31).
The other path is less worn because it’s uphill, narrow, and hard to stay on, but it’s led by the king of life. It’s one rule is to love God by loving others. Everyone is urged to walk in love, but what does it look like?
I remember finding it odd that Moses wrote of himself, “Moses was very humble, more than all the people who were on the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3). It’s not as weird as it seems.
The Hebrew word for humble communicates not a lowly opinion of oneself, but a high opinion of others. It’s not describing Moses as “humble” per se, but as someone who takes abuse without abusing in return. It’s actually meekness.
Meekness is what love looks like when it’s attacked. Meekness is turning the cheek, praying for one’s persecutors, and loving one’s enemies. Meekness is a description of those who inherit Jesus’ kingdom: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Meekness is about laying down our rights, right as they may be.
Instead of trying to force the other side to see things our way, we should love those who see differently. One is the path of death and the other the path of life.
Instead of attacking those who vote contrary to us, we should seek to understand them, appreciate them, and serve them. The path of death and the path of life.
Instead of using our voices and power to enforce our rights, we should use them to lay down our rights. The kingdom of this world, or the kingdom of Christ, who will you serve?
Instead of worrying about the coming communism or dictatorship that will either take away our freedoms or set us free, we should “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” and trust God to care of us (Mat. 6:33). Who will you hope in?
There is a better way. Democrat or Republican, choose Christ above all.