A Third Party Candidate
It is election time again and it seems as though no one is happy. Animosity and vitriol fill the airwaves. Each side wants to do nothing but complain about the other. Sadly, many Christians have fallen into this political trap. They “treat their religion as a kind of politics and their politics as a kind of religion.”* Politics becomes an idol, and hope rises or falls based on the outcome of the coming election. Christians on both sides of the aisle are guilty of bowing to an elephant or a donkey, thinking they have the answers to their problems. The truth is neither the Republicans nor the Democrats possess the solutions to that which plagues humanity, but there is a third option.
Ironically, Christians have looked outward for an answer to their problems when they have possessed the solution all along. Our hope does not rise or fall based on the results of whatever election is in front of us. In fact, Paul warned us against being “tossed to and fro” by “people’s trickery” and “deceitful scheming,” but instead we are called to become mature Christians (Eph. 4:14-15). All of this is found in a much larger section dealing with unity within the body of Christ (Eph. 4:1-16). We are to be unified, not by our political beliefs, but by the foundations of Christianity (Eph. 4:4-5). We are not “tossed to and fro” because our foundations will not change and they cannot be shaken. We never lose hope because our hope is not in something transient.
As people become disillusioned with the state of American politics, and begin to look elsewhere for something to believe in, we need to tell them about our King. As Christians we shouldn’t spend all our time and energy campaigning for a leader who may or may not get elected, and who will probably do little or nothing at all to fix the problems of this world, while they are in office for only a brief amount of time. Our faith is in a King who is in charge of the whole world, and who will return one day to fix all the problems. As Christians we should be investing in a kingdom that will last forever, not one that may fall apart at any moment. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus commanded us not to lay up treasures on earth where they will not last, but to invest in something everlasting (Matt. 6:19-21). If all we do is invest in the same things the world does, then people will never see a difference in us as Christians.
In 1 Peter 3:15 the apostle informs us of what will convince the world. He does not point to our morality, principles, or the stand we take on the side of truth, but instead points to hope. He tells us to be ready to give an answer when people ask about the hope that is within us. The problem is the world often does not see hope when they look at Christians. They see Christians who have taken over Facebook and Twitter to boldly take a stand against whatever the issue of the day might be, sometimes even posting false information to make a moral point (Just this week numerous Christians have posted McDonalds and KFC signs which show their support for Chick-fil-A, even though these signs were fabricated.) They see Christians who post more on Facebook and Twitter about their political affiliation, than their faith. They see Christians who seem to abandon all hope when a member of the opposite party is elected. It is no wonder the church isn’t growing. When the world looks at the church they see little or no difference between what Christians are doing and what others are doing. Hope is missing, but hope is not lost.
What we should be concerned about this election season is not the state of the country, but the state of the kingdom of God. As people become frustrated and tired with American politics we need to be ready to step in and give them a reason to hope, not a fleeting hope in a presidential candidate, but an eternal hope in a life giving King. People are yearning for another option, a third party candidate. If there happens to be a third party candidate then I doubt they will garner more than 1 or 2 percent of the vote, but we can give them what they want. We can campaign for the third party candidate that can really make a difference in their lives. We can present them with a true message of hope that will never fade. We can introduce them to our King!
* Paraphrase of something Peter Kreeft said during a lecture on the culture wars.