In a famous sermon, Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God." If there was ever a time in history for those of us who follow Jesus to take these words to heart, it is now. I'm sad to report what is obvious: as God's people, we are not doing well in fulfilling this call of Jesus on our lives. Though we are called to represent Jesus and His grace and love to others, we are divided over political issues and commitments to political parties and personalities in ways that create hostility between us as believers and turn people away from Christ. We engage in judgment of others based on whether they are Republican, Democrat, or Independent. We measure godliness based on who we vote for or what issues we stand on. This is not Christ's call on our lives.
We have every right and responsibility to carefully decide how we will engage in our responsibilities as citizens of a democratic country and follow our conscience as we apply God's Word to our choices. We do not have the right to use our personal decisions in this area as a means of judging other followers of Christ or promoting our particular preferences about politics. Our identity is first and foremost as one of His followers. It is Christ we represent to the world; it is Christ we proclaim, it is Christ's gospel of grace, mercy, and forgiveness for which we must be known.
I love reading history, following politics and staying up on current events. I have my opinions and enjoy talking about issues. But with all the grace that God has given me, I will never obscure the message of the gospel by wrapping it in the blanket of a political party or a political candidate. And because I love history and have read deeply about it, I am very concerned about what is ahead as we continue to struggle through this pandemic and now face a turbulent presidential election. I fear that believers will continue to put political commitments ahead of a common faith in Christ and the call to be peacemakers that Jesus proclaimed.
So I urge you, fellow believer: be followers of Christ first and foremost. Measure your words and actions by His standards of love, truth, and mercy. Let people see Christ in you. Let us be the salt and light to a desperate world that will show them the way to their greatest need: salvation through Jesus.