Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Jesus is the Answer, Even in Politics


Judging from the daily onslaught of large cardboard 2-sided full color mailers telling me how bad each of the candidates are, I am guess that we are heading into election season.  Seriously, I am getting one to four of these things each day.  Apparently, no matter who wins, I should be terrified.  In the end, a small minority of us will care enough to vote, and someone will win.  Nothing will really change and life will go on.  There is also a small scandal in a small town in New Jersey where the married male mayor was caught with a male prostitute.  This is nothing new as sadly politicians and sex scandals seem to go hand-in-hand.  I imagine this has been going on for a long time, we just have the technological means to hear about it now.  The ongoing debate about that one scandal is whether or not that person should stay in office.  Do we really live in a world where character counts so little?  Do we really believe that there is a separation from personal life and public life when it comes to public leaders?  By and large, from the comments I heard, the answer is yes.  It should be no surprise when so many of our politicians are caught up in scandals and many (especially in New Jersey) are in prison.  Whether we believe it or not, character does count, and in the end the character of our leaders represents the character of those who elect him or her.  In the end, God allows the people to choose the wrong leader, not because it is what we want, but because it is what we deserve. 
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  Romans 13:1 NKJV
As shocking as it may sound, God allows people of bad moral character to hold high public office.  God allowed Pilate to have the authority to execute Jesus Christ.  God allowed the Roman emperors to rule who persecuted Christians to an extreme that we can barely have nightmares about.  In fact, it was in this context that Paul wrote Romans.  God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to gain power and conquer and brutalize countless cities, including Jerusalem.  God knows the most horrific ruler of all time, the antichrist himself, is coming and He is doing nothing to prevent it.  If anything, God ordained it.  So the real answer as to why we have so many corrupt leaders lining their own pockets while the people starve, we need only look in the mirror. They are reflections of what we are.  They emulate the bad characteristics that we just excuse.  We told God that character does not count, now God is showing us what that means. How I wish we would learn that lesson.  Sadly, we never have. Sadly, even God's own chosen people chose man over God and since that time they have never learned their lesson.  When the people of Israel demanded a king, here is God's reply.
And he said, "This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint [them] for his own chariots and [to be] his horsemen, and [some] will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, [will set some] to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and [some] to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters [to be] perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give [them] to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put [them] to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day."   1 Samuel 8:11-18 NKJV
If God would not hear His chosen people regarding the king that they chose for themselves, why would God hear us about the king we have chosen for ourselves?  We bemoan the increasing taxes, control, corruption, corporate cronyism, redistribution of wealth, and sending our men and women off to war in disputes that have nothing to do with protecting the nation, but I ask why.  Why are we so surprised when God said all these things happen when a nation is ruled by man rather than God?  Why should we be surprised that in a nation of moral failure, we have leaders who are also moral failures?  Why are we surprised that politicians who lie do not cease to be liars once elected?  Why do we expect that politicians who betray and endanger their own families for their own personal pleasure will not betray those of us they do not know at all for their own personal wealth?  Why does it matter if a politician cheats on his wife?  It matters because if he would cheat on the one he is closest to and took an oath before God to love for life, why would he not cheat those he does not even care about when he only took a temporary oath before man.  Personal life matters because who a person is in his or her personal life is who that person will be in his or her public life.  Why do people not see that?  Are you not the same person elected to office who cheated on his wife?  It is the height of ignorance to think that personal and public lives can be separated. 

In the end, if you want righteous government, you have to reject man as government.  If you want a "better" government from man, the answer is not in politics. All those cards I get telling me how bad it would be to elect whatever opponent is running is foolishness that we all buy into.  We have become a nation where the goal is not to tell people how good your candidate is, but how bad the other one is.  We live in a place and time where it is more about being scared about someone getting elected than it is about being excited about voting for somebody. Even Christians fall into this trap and there is where we fail.  We think that we will get good leaders by telling people how bad Obama is.  We will vote for a less-of-two-evils Republican to make sure a Democrat does not get elected.  We honestly think that the answer to our nation's political woes are at the voting booth and that the way to achieve that answer is by telling them how good candidate A is and how bad candidate B is.  What we fail to realize is that so long as we are the same people, we will get the same kind of leader.  The answer, even for our nation's political woes, is Jesus.  It is Jesus who can reach the hearts of man to stir up a desire to be led by righteousness rather than craftiness.  It is Jesus who can stir up a desire for a man of God to be president rather than a man of whatever else.  The only way Jesus can stir up those desires is for people to accept His Lordship over their lives.  The only way people will accept His Lordship is if people hear the gospel and accept it.  If you want political change, it starts with personal change, and that starts with Jesus.  Instead of handing out political flyers, we need to hand out gospel tracts.  Instead of hanging signs saying that some politician can save our nation, we need to tell the world that Jesus can save their souls. 

We live in a nation where the government is of the people, by the people, and for the people.  You may disagree that it is still about that, but it really is.  The people we elect are reflections of our own greed and envy and they only try get away with the same kinds of things that many in our nation only wish they could try to get away with.  The fact remains, and will remain until we address it, that lest the people change, the government never will.  The hope of our nation will not be found in any politician or political party, it will only be found in Jesus.  Make a real difference in politics, preach Jesus. 
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?  Romans 10:14 NKJV

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