On the eve of what many are calling, the most important election in recent history, I believe that we as Christians have an enormous opportunity to show the world what God is like. Before I unpack that, let me first explain what I don’t mean. There is an enormous amount of fear surrounding this election.

  • What if we become a socialist country?
  • What if we lose our religious liberties?
  • Who is going to ensure that I have proper healthcare?
  • Who is going to fight for the lives of the unborn?
  • How will people of color ever be granted the dignity they deserve as image bearers of God?
  • What will become of our education system?
  • How will we ever get out of this pandemic if _______________ is elected?

This is only a snapshot, the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to what people are wrestling with this year. And while these are important issues, when I say that we have an opportunity to show the world what God is like, I do not mean that we will do that through legislation, elected officials, and social media battles with friends, family and neighbors. The question we need to be asking ourselves is what are we truly afraid of? Whether we lean Left or Right, many of us are afraid that we are going to lose something when this whole thing shakes out. One pastor said it like this:

"All this angst and fighting for the culture is born out of a fear of losing one’s respectability and influence. Everybody wants a seat at the table…to improve one’s lot, to improve the church’s lot, but Christianity is not respectable, and that is the glorious thing about it." [1]

We talk a lot about what it looks like to be both forgiven by the Cross of Christ, and also to be formed by the Cross of Christ. The thing about Christianity is that it was never intended to be a movement that had a respected voice in the public square. From its very early beginnings, Christianity was a movement of outsiders, people who were persecuted for what they believed.

Now this has not really been the case throughout American history; for much of our history, Christianity has been the air we breathed. God is referenced in our founding documents, we’ve had national days of prayer, White House prayer breakfasts, and the list can go on and on. And while it’s nice to have freedom, influence, and power, these are not things that the Scriptures promise us, at least not on this side of glory. But what we are promised is that suffering, and persecution will accompany faithfulness.

With that said, I would like to talk a little bit about what I do mean when I say that we have an opportunity to show the world what God is like during this extremely volatile election cycle. The first thing I want to bring up is something that I believe is foundational for what it means to be a follower of Jesus. In the book of Genesis, when God spoke creation into existence, he said this: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). While there is so much that we can talk about when it comes to the fact that we are created in the image and likeness of God, what I think is most relevant to our present situation is the intrinsic worth and dignity that every single human being possesses simply because we bear God’s image. The Psalms speak of this dignity and worth as well saying, “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor”. Did you catch that? We have been “crowned with glory and honor”.

If this is all true, and at Redeemer Fellowship, we believe that this is true because we believe in the authoritative nature of the holy Scriptures, then there is never a reason or an excuse to defame, mock, trash, or tear one of these image bearers down. There are certainly areas where people will disagree, and lively debate is a good thing. But personal attacks on fellow image bearers is a stench to God, especially when it proceeds from the lips of His people.

This sort of behavior is expected outside of the church, and we are seeing it on both sides of the aisle and coming from the desks of political pundits, regardless of what media outlet you tune into on a regular basis. And sadly, instead of the church reflecting the goodness and glory of God to this broken world, we are jumping right in on the action, and in so doing, we are playing the harlot and committing sexual immorality with “that woman Jezebel”. In 1 Kings 16, we see that it was Ahab’s marriage to the Baal worshipping Jezebel that brought this sort of idolatry into the lives of God’s people. It happened then, and then it happened again in the church at Thyatira in Revelation 2:18-29. While we might not be making actual sacrifices to statues of foreign gods, we are doing the exact same thing when we take our cues on how to deal with disagreements and conflict from the world around us rather than the Scriptures.

We also do it when we place our hope and trust in a political party or candidate. When we talk about the gods of the nations (cf. Deut. 32:8-9; Dan. 10:20; Ps. 82), we must remember that the United States is part of that, and to put our hope and trust in an ideal or way of life that is so divorced from the cross shaped life of Christ, we are bowing down before false gods. It is not sinful to love your country, but it must never eclipse our love for God and neighbor.

This Election Day vote your conscience and leave it at that. Of course, be informed and pray for our leaders and our country, but more importantly, pray for your neighbors, your friends and family. Engage those who disagree with you in love and kindness. Have discussions and debates, but do so with humility, honoring your opponent as one who has been “crowned with glory”. Love your neighbors in their brokenness and seek their flourishing. And whether your candidate wins or loses, keep your eyes fixed on Christ. Use wisdom when engaging with others on social media, and refrain from mocking those who disagree with you because it is sin, and God hates it. It is through humility and cross bearing that the world will be able to catch a glimpse of what God is like. Use your words and resources to love your enemies, and trust in the sovereignty of God. Jesus is King, and the gates of hell will not prevail against His church. Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, we are seated in the heavenly places with Christ!

[1] Jim Cassidy, The Reformed Forum Podcast, episode #86 (9/28/20).