the love and hate of politics

Politics, simply speaking is how people live together or form a society, and what is involved in that. Some form of governing process is involved. In the United States there are the three branches of government: the executive, the legislative and the judicial.

Politics is understandably important, something inherent to being human, even if the final government: the kingdom of God in and through King Jesus, who eventually turns the kingdom over to the Father, so that God may be “all in all” (1 Corinthians 15), will be so radically and wonderfully different. It still involves rule and order.

It is understandable how in this present life, state, and existence, politics will be at its best, very humble and hard at work, whatever form of government it takes. While there is right and wrong, evil and good, given the nature of things along with the complexity, there are probably as many ways to govern as there are peoples. While certain basic things will be the same, even how these basics play out, or what they look like, or even consist of, will be necessarily different for a host of reasons.

And so again it is more than understandable why politics can have a legitimate interest. Even the election cycle, with the politics that go into play there, a part of that in the democratic process involving persuading citizens to vote, and to vote in a certain way, has an understandably good legitimate interest.

Politics is important, and the Bible itself bears that out. It is not inherently a waste of time. It has its place, and it’s an important place in life.

But given the nature of its subjectivity even in what ends up being considered pure objectivity, we find politics (along with religion), not necessarily the best dinner table topic. Politics is divisive, because we inherently know it’s important, and we have an informed, formed opinion, or often more like conviction, of what form the government should take, or what governing is. And this is all the more heightened in a democratic society, where it’s not taken for granted that there’s one way of doing things, “the way we’ve always done it.”

Politics is divisive because it involves so many gray areas which people see as black and white. Certainly there is right and wrong, good and evil, but even how that’s addressed, or in the first place even seen, is going to be difficult in this life. And even for societies given more to the monarchial governing, or the group, community-think, which often go together, problems in this life are inevitable, for example there are good and bad rulers.

And so we need to listen well, to be humble, and above all, as followers of Jesus to put our own ultimate confidence in God’s kingdom come in Jesus lived out through the gospel in the church and for the world. While at the same time respecting our differences when it comes to the politics of the governing states in which we live. And we must be careful not to judge others on the basis of differences here. And may I add, as important as the politics of the nation states of this world is, we should take it with some grain of salt. Not dismissing or ignoring it (except perhaps at certain times), but realizing its importance in its place, giving proper respect to those in authority, and above all praying for them as we’re directed to in scripture. As we go on in the one politic that will last forever in God’s grace and kingdom found in Jesus.


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