Love trumps politics

love_trumps_politicsOkay, my play on words in the title is only slightly intended, but in light of the recent US presidential election, I think this subject is warranted.

I’ve already talked about the primacy of love over demanding individual freedoms here, so now let’s talk about how love must trump our politics.

For the rest of the world, understand that individual liberties are almost worshiped in America. This is part of our national DNA. But we must ask, is it the DNA of the Kingdom of Heaven, to where our highest allegiance is due? And is there really such a thing as true liberty without other-centered, self-giving love? (Matt.7:12; 22:37-40)

I honestly don’t think there is such a thing.

Only this other-centered love will help us really “hear” the other side on the important issues that confront us. After all, we’re ultimately all in this together.

We who value American liberties, safe borders, and minimal government intrusion, do we equally value making sure everyone has a place at the table and that their stories are heard? Are we motivated more by self-interest and fear or by compassion and inclusion?

These aren’t “liberal” or “conservative” values; these are Jesus values. Søren Kierkegaard once said, “Once you label me, you negate me.” Labeling people is easier than actually getting to know them and walking in their shoes. And when we dismiss those we don’t agree with, we reveal our own version of narrow-minded bigotry.

As Jesus followers, we must take a hard look at these things and not be more motivated by our cultural paradigms and political leanings than by His example and teachings. Here are just a few notable examples of those teachings (all are NKJV):

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  (Matt.5:43-45)

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion….
36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 1o:29-33, 36-37)

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (Matt.25:37-40)

Love-compassHow does our politics line up with these values? We can see from this small sample that Jesus defines love as caring for our neighbor, showing mercy, and even loving our adversaries.

But also understand that this same love that champions compassion for the marginalized and inclusion for all, also champions an unborn child’s right to live over the mother’s right to make that decision for them. If we’re to be consistent, we must see that love values all human life equally.

Politics, by nature, is divisive and factious. This is why I believe Jesus warned us against it, alluding to two insidious strongholds: the religious spirit (Pharisees) and the political spirit (Herod).

15 Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” (Mark 8:15)

The religious spirit separates us from God; the political spirit separates us from each other. What’s relevant here, though, the political spirit keeps us from listening to each other so that a solution can result that benefits everyone.

A divisive political spirit is a work of the flesh, as the Amplified Bible brings out (emphasis mine):

19 Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, 20 Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies)… (Gal.5:19-20 AMP)

love_handsLove preempts any pretense of wanting freedom to pursue self-interest at the expense of others, and it must also trump our divisive political ideologies. Walking in self-giving love is the only way we’ll ever experience the freedom that people came to America for in the first place.

Without this love, our “freedoms” become just another prison: a life of brokenness, separation, anger, and despair.

My prayer is that mutual respect and other-centered love will prevail in our discussions about moving our nation (and world) toward a better future, regardless of political affiliation.

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 37 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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8 Responses to Love trumps politics

  1. AfroScot says:

    “Politics, by nature, is divisive and factious. This is why I believe Jesus warned us against it”. Amen!

    Thanks Mel for declaring this boldly. Christians often argue how we can make a difference without getting involved in Politics. Jesus and his disciples were somehow able to do this in a heathen Rome. There are also other examples like Daniel etc.

    God bless

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks, AfroScot. You make two good points here. First, we can influence governments without being in politics. Jesus and the early church indirectly influenced through the changed lives of the Roman citizens, which in the end, was very effective. In fact, many historians see the collapse of the Roman Empire due to the ever growing Christian influence in the culture. But Daniel also affected great change from within the Babylonian and, later, the Persian governments. I think those who are called into government can follow the Daniel model. The point being, whichever path we choose, we must beware of the political SPIRIT that is divisive and factious. We can’t make Democrat or Republican more important than Jesus or the Kingdom of God. So, we can be involved in politics as long as our thinking is ruled by the Kingdom of God and His love.

  2. paulfg says:

    “For the rest of the world, understand that individual liberties are almost worshiped in America. This is part of our national DNA.”
    I think one observation that is relevant. Individual liberty is part of every human being’s DNA. For where else does unconditional love seed other than in that liberty freely given to each?
    The United States of America will live on. Death, divorce, depression … Life continues each day in the living of countries and individuals. Yet I hope that there is recognition that “the rest of the world” is not some curious spectator – waiting with baited breath. I think the rest of the world hopes the USA might at some point see that the same “global DNA” unites us all – is not to be feared or despised – in fact it may be the one thing we all have in common. It is where we each find love that transcends – if we allow.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks for chiming in, Paul. Good thoughts! Just to be clear, my comment on the “individual liberties” cherished in the US was not a positive one. I’m talking about a “rugged individualism” that is deep-seated in the American psyche than amounts to nothing more than, “my freedom is more important than what happens to you.” We Americans tend to cherish our individual freedoms, even if it’s at the expense of others. Wanting this kind of freedom without other-centered love is just a gross form of selfishness. As you said, unconditional love flourishes in true freedom. But true freedom is relational. We don’t live in a vacuum. When see ourselves as individuals rather than part of the whole, we are not truly free. Real freedom is treating others the way you want to be treated (Matt.7:12). Otherwise. we are still self-centered and will always be conditional with our love. This is what I mean when I say that kind of individualism is not the Kingdom DNA.

      So, I’m totally with you on the USA finally seeing that we are part of the “global DNA.” Because we are all connected together in Christ whether we know it or not! We are not individuals who can live without thinking about how it affects others, like it’s thought (and worshiped) in the US. We must see ourselves as part of one another, especially the Church, but also as fellow human beings on this planet together.
      And I also agree…it’s where we find each other! 🙂

  3. I will always vote for those who come nearest to being a champion for individual freedoms. That is how I will express my love for those who don’t want to be free and are too blinded by leftism to even know that their ideologies are a prison in and of themselves.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Chris, that’s the way our individual freedoms should work–through love. Without love, freedom will be demanded at the expense of others…whether they are right or left leaning. Thank you for your comments. I’m with you on loving even those who wish to stay in their own prison. 🙂

  4. Cindy Powell says:

    “Labeling people is easier than actually getting to know them and walking in their shoes. And when we dismiss those we don’t agree with, we reveal our own version of narrow-minded bigotry.” So true. Thanks for this, Mel. So much room for ALL of us to grow in love and learn. I pray that is what we choose to do.

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