Few things are more polarizing in life than politics. Is it me or is the vitriol and outright disdain expressed on the air waves, television, and social media getting worse? I was shocked to find that a Facebook friend who simply stated, “I support ____________” was followed by over twenty comments, much of which offensively questioned my friend’s intelligence and character. In today’s politically charged climate, it’s impossible to state your political persuasion without losing someone’s respect and being labeled a bigot, ignorant, or a buffoon. This is troubling. It’s one thing to voice your political support for a particular candidate. It’s quite another to down-right hate and despise those who disagree with you. Long forgotten are the days when even if your candidate doesn’t win, you still respected the President because you respected his office.
According to Tim Keller, the polarizing effects of politics are symptoms of idolatry. They are symptoms of hopes and identities that have been inordinately wrapped around a politician, cause, or party. This is why we immediately befriend those who are “on our side.” This is why we immediately villainize those on the “other side.” Those who disagree do much more than just disagree. They ultimately threaten our hope, our identity, and our livelihood. They ultimately attack “our god.”
Is it possible to be passionate about politics without being polarizing? Is it possible to support a candidate without hating the other party? I believe so. It can happen so long as we understand where our ultimate hope and identity lie. It can happen so long as we understand that our greatest enemy is not the opposing party. It is not outside us, but inside us: the unholy trinity of me, myself, and I. No legislation, no politician, no government can ever defeat the sin that lives within me. Only Jesus can. Only Jesus did. As a result, he is my greatest hero. He is my ultimate hope.
As a Christian I will do my best to be faithful in my civic duties and do my part in making this country great. At the same time, I understand that this world is not my home and that a better country awaits me with a much better king.
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