Daily Readings: Deuteronomy 17-18, 1 Corinthians 16, Psalm 50
But to the wicked person, God says:
“What right have you to recite my laws
or take my covenant on your lips?
You hate my instruction
and cast my words behind you.
When you see a thief, you join with him;
you throw in your lot with adulterers.
You use your mouth for evil
and harness your tongue to deceit.
You sit and testify against your brother
and slander your own mother’s son.
When you did these things and I kept silent,
you thought I was exactly like you.
But I now arraign you
and set my accusations before you.
In the last post we explored the dangers of tribalism and how it can lead to a society of mockers on both sides of the aisle politically and not a society of people seeking to first understand before being understood, desiring to increase their own learning, and ultimately chasing after wisdom instead of simply attempting to win a debate.
Today our reading in Psalm 50 points to a deeper problem with tribalism that we see in today’s culture. In America today we are so prone to going to our own political corner and defending any candidate that will vote the way we want. If they say that they are Christian as well; all the better! We desperately want to believe that the people we are backing are not all that bad, are they?
In Psalm 50 God warns us of people that “recite his laws and take God’s covenant on their lips” and yet do the opposite. For as long as mankind has existed there have been con artists who will say they believe in God to curry favor with believers, even if all the evidence points to the opposite story. In today’s world we see so many politicians that seek to appeal to Christians and yet, see if this sounds familiar, “hate God’s instruction, join with thieves, throw in their lot with adulterers, use their mouth for evil, harness their tongue for deceit…”
This happens on both sides of the aisle and the damage can be eternal. By defending someone to a friend, colleague, or neighbor and minimizing some truly terrible things that someone has done, said, etc. we minimize our opportunity to have an eternal impact on their life. It is so easy for people to say, “If that is what being Christian looks like, defending that person, no thanks.”
Here is the reality, only Democrats can hold Democrats accountable and only Republicans can hold Republicans accountable effectively. When we rush to our corners to defend the immoral actions of people that fit our political beliefs, we ruin our own testimony.
In some cases, there are two terrible choices, and you have to vote for one of them. However, you never need to say that you actually support that person. You never need to defend actions that are indefensible. And once an election is over, you can use your voice to help positive change occur by holding your own side accountable to a higher standard of personal conduct.
Also, you don’t need to vote for either. You really don’t. If your party keeps nominating candidates that are morally bankrupt, you deserve better. You will never force your party to bring better candidates to the table if you vote for terrible ones. Every party needs a wake up call from time to time.
If you can find the passage in the Bible where Jesus talks about “choosing the lesser of two evils” or saying “the ends justify the means”, send it my way. So far I have been unable to find it.
In addition, if you ever hear a pundit, radio host, or news anchor defending the indefensible, turn it off. God has told us clearly that there are people who will claim his name, suggest that they are Christian, recite his laws, and yet in reality, “hate God’s instruction, join with thieves, throw in their lot with adulterers, use their mouth for evil, harness their tongue for deceit…”
As Christians we are called to remember that this is not our ultimate home. Our ability to minister to others and share the gospel has eternal implications. Let’s not throw it away with half the population by defending the indefensible, backing the flagrantly immoral, and throwing in our lot with thieves, adulterers, and folks that use their words to harness evil and deceit.
The world needs Christians that stand up and fight for what is right, not just for our own political positions. There is a difference between begrudgingly voting for someone when you feel like both choices are awful and then holding that person you voted for accountable by frequently speaking out and making sure your voice is heard; and actively defending indefensible actions.
At the end of my life, when I stand before the throne, I don’t want God to say, “You threw your lot in with them? What right did you have to recite my laws and have your covenant on your lips if that is who you defended with your words and actions?”
This world will eventually fade away, but our choices while here echo for eternity.
Thought to ponder
When was the last time I caught myself wanting to retreat to my own political corner and defend the indefensible? How can I be more aware when I am falling into this trap and remember that ultimately this is not our home and my testimony to others is far more important than a single election cycle.