Christians in the General Election: Peace and Politics
Peace, often considered the opposite of stress or worry, is also one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). However, in this election year, the experience of peace in our lives and in our world seems more and more elusive.
How do we cultivate peace when war rages in Syria, trapping families and cutting them off from supplies that come only with peace and an end to armed conflict? How do we foster peace among our Christian brothers and sisters when racial injustice threatens to undo the democratic principles intended to sow peace across the nation? How do we claim peace when people levy insult and accusation around issues rather than approach challenges with willing ears and commitment to the common good?
In our lived experience, peace can be fleeting. Yet as Christians who are both citizens of the world and inheritors of heaven through Christ, we must recognize peace as more than a feeling. Peace is a promise of God and the true reality of the world to come (Revelation 21).
The absence of peace serves as a warning. When unrest comes, that absence of peace points to a need in us, in our world, or in our relationships. God’s promise of earthly trouble (John 16:33) only means that we need to work in concert with Him and rely on Him to set things right. As Christians, we must hold onto God’s promise that Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) and that He is more than capable of granting us peace (Philippians 4:7). Wars rage, elections come and go, but God can fill us with peace that transcends all earthly threats to peace everlasting.
Paul reflects this peacemaking aptitude at the individual and collective levels of intervention. Throughout Acts, Paul is captured, then arrested in the temple (Acts 21: 27-41), then brought to Roman authorities (Acts 25-27). Each time, Paul makes his case, employing his intellect and his identity as a Roman citizen with full reliance on God. He shrewdly uses the systems of society to spread the Gospel. Paul, no doubt scared, troubled, and stressed throughout his imprisonment and even shipwreck, remains at peace. He finds peace in his Christian identity and doing God’s work, no matter the tribulation.
As we approach the election, let us model Paul’s way and commit to understanding peace as the state of God’s kingdom, not merely an emotion or the absence of worry or stress. When we worry or feel uneasy, hold onto the peace that God can cultivate within us. Let’s taste of the Spirit’s fruit and see.
Read articles in the Christians in the General Election Series:
Gentleness and Politics by Roger White, Ed.D.
Posted: September 26, 2016