The old saying “let’s agree to disagree” is a thing of the past. More and more people can’t accept when you disagree with them. This is clear in many areas of life, but perhaps none as prominent as in the political realm during an election year for a new POTUS. We are such a radically divided country in our politics. It’s not enough to know that when we are not talking politics, we usually find ourselves quite amiable to our neighbor. Even among faithful Christians, it’s not enough to know that we hold to and agree in the saving grace of Christ. No, when people get their hackles up the most, it’s because they cannot rationally discuss politics without turning to backhanded comments, innuendos, or ad hominem statements.
There is no one political party that God supports. Perhaps as Christians we would do well to remember that God loves Libertarians, Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, and even Green party folk 🙂 . The polarization of people’s politics interferes with the rationalization of their feelings, which in turn blocks the relational interaction of their spiritual beings. Why can’t we disagree without taking such great offence and labeling the other not only as wrong, but as perhaps even sinfully so?
Instead of saying we’ll “agree to disagree” and parting in peace, it’s become “Let’s disagree to agree” and we are left with a negative stance and attitude about those who disagree with us. This happens at every level of Christendom from the casual member in the pew to the clergy. (If anyone seems apt at disagreeing, it almost manifests itself as a spiritual gift among pastors.) The arguments abound.
The Bible says both, that we should obey those in authority (Romans 13:1) over us and that we should obey God (Acts 5:29) rather than man. So which is it? Do we bow down to any governing authority? I would pray that is never the case. Can you imagine if Daniel had catered to the edicts of Nebuchadnezzar? Or, what answer would we give to those in places of truly unrestrained evil as has been in the past and present under dictators, warlords and religious radicals? In fact, the USA would not exist if it had obeyed the authority of the government. We would also still have slavery and women’s suffrage would have failed.
If you support the politicians in office then you want everyone to obey them and be subject to them. If you oppose them, then you want people to be able to speak out and criticize them. (I would note that criticizing and disagreeing with someone does not mean that you are no longer subject to them, it means you disagree and have a right to criticize those who hold differing views than you which do not pertain to salvation or God’s Word.)
What we MUST do is continue to be a people of faith and subject ourselves to the Body of Christ. We should continue to be able to disagree with each other on those things not pertaining to salvation. You may support the candidate of your choice and I mine and hopefully we can have civil discussions without resorting to childish actions or comments.
Perhaps the best Biblical verse regarding all of this would be “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Always pray for those who are over us, they need it! (As a pastor, I need it!) Pray that they would be godly and Christian! The reason we are praying is primarily that they would be saved.
Go ahead and talk about the politician of your liking, and I’ll talk about mine, it’s O.K. Go ahead and agree with or disagree with the POTUS, the Congress, the Senate, the Supreme Court and the many candidates running for office right now. Still, remember that our fellowship is not based on politics or a government. We are the Body of Christ. There are varying ideas and ideals held by the folks in the pews around you when it comes to the world and how it should be run. Hopefully, we are united still by the Blood of Jesus.
Now, we can either agree about this, or…well, there will always be curmudgeons who disagree.