America's Problem Isn't Just Political
Needless to say, this election cycle has produced a heavy amount of angst in our country. And people on both sides of the political aisle are blaming the other for everything wrong with the United States.
A lot of people fear the direction of the country. I can sympathize with many Americans, especially those in marginalized groups considering the fact that I am also a minority and an immigrant.
Lately, though, I've come to a realization of an important biblical truth: politicians are only human. Whatever side you agree or disagree with, they are not at the core of humanity’s problem: Sin is.
Politicians are human beings, just like any of us, made in God’s image—and fallen.
We would be wise to remember that the world's problems did not begin in 2016, as much as this election cycle may have made it feel so. Dissension, lying, divisive rhetoric were all already a part of humanity, going back to Genesis, hiding grimly in people’s hearts.
Fighting the Wrong Battle
As people understand God’s grace and the significance of the cross, their hearts will be softened, and one by one they’ll come to repentance.
As Christians, we are called to love our enemies and pray for those in authority. Nevertheless, we should be aware and speak up when we see injustice but never hate and curse another human being. If we don’t remember that the battle is not against the flesh (as in other human beings) but is against the spiritual forces of darkness, aren’t we at risk of diminishing the image of God in the other person?
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
The devil and his fallen angels are the real enemies, not human beings. We must realize that the devil roams freely on earth and has most of humanity chained to sin. Change will not just come from having a “good president” or “implementing new laws and reforms.” Laws rule society on the surface, but darkness can still be harbored on the inside.
For true change to happen, the greater evil must be addressed: the human heart. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” Matthew 15:19
From the heart flow evil thoughts. And thoughts are manifested into actions. That’s not hard to see. Human sin is the reason for every war, murder, racism, hate, terrorism, rape and every type of offense against another human being. These things have been around since the dawn of history, in every country and in every person. Today, we just see it more because we have TVs, the internet and social media.
The human heart is bent on folly, division, selfishness, you name it. So it’s not just about politics; it’s about human brokenness.
No human can tame his or her own heart; that is beyond our control and power. We are inherently sinful. Our very nature craves for evil, so even if we try controlling or taming our hearts, we’ll just deceive ourselves.
When it all boils down, only Jesus’ grace and love for people can transform the human heart.
So we must examine our own hearts: Are we harboring any hatred born out of fear or cursing those who persecute us?
The Right Perspective
I support people who engage in peaceful protest, especially when it’s raising awareness and even saving the lives of others. However, people will be hateful and racist whether there are laws against racism, or whether people protest or not. Seeking public demonstration or posts on Facebook as the only avenues we take against policies we disagree with is insufficient. We must look beyond ourselves and perhaps within ourselves.
When it all boils down, only Jesus’ grace and love for people can transform the human heart. The Bible promises that God will give us a new heart, a heart made of flesh, removing the heart made of stone (Ezekiel 36:26). Although with a new heart people will still continue to fall short, His grace will cover them, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, God will continue to make people more and more into His likeness.
My point being: People (even the “enemies”) need to know the Gospel and the power that comes with it. Bandaging the outward effects of sin only does so much, but true change comes from addressing the root of the problem. As people understand God’s grace and the significance of the cross, their hearts will be softened, and one by one they’ll come to repentance. Only through love can hatred be defeated.
Above all else, God is sovereign over all earth and all creation, and no human authority is great enough to thwart His plan and good will. So what can the Christian do? Here are some practical ideas:
Pray for the nation and its people.
Love your neighbor and your enemy.
Share the Good News to combat all the bad news.
Don’t quarrel and slander, build up and encourage.
Stand up for the weak, oppressed, the orphans and the widows by seeking policy change and being civically involved.
Be an example of humility, mercy and justice.
Be the hands and feet of Jesus in your school, workplace, city and in your country.
In the midst of political turmoil and chaos, Jesus is still the Prince of Peace. Don’t get caught up in the waves of emotion and the winds of bitterness. Jesus already won the war. Be the countercurrent and be faithful in the darkness. After all, you are called the light of the world.
The article was originally published on Relevantmagazine.com. Used with permission.