I’m not sure if this is going to be shocking for you to read, but you are worshiping with people who have different political opinions and values than you. You have brothers and sisters who are planning on voting for the other candidate in November for President.
Can political supporters of Hillary Clinton break bread in Christian fellowship with political supporters of Donald Trump? Can brothers and sisters with different political values and convictions work in Awana together with peace? Can we worship together with true love for one another with joy in our hearts even though we might stump for different political parties?
I’m not going to be coy with you, friends: we must live harmoniously together as followers of Jesus in spite of our political differences. If your political convictions keep you from having genuine Christian love for your brothers and sisters across the aisle, something is wrong with your understanding of the gospel or your ruling desires are misplaced.
The importance and priority of Christian unity is expressed well by Paul in Col. 3:15, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.” It’s clear that Paul is working for Christian unity and harmony in Col. 3. He just got done telling this church to bear with one another and forgive each other; things you must do to live in peace. You’ve been called into one body. So, let the peace that Christ bought for you rule your hearts. Let this commitment for peace be the governing motivation of your communal life together. Care more about peace than being right; care more about peace than persuading your sister; care more about peace than your political candidate winning the election.
Christian harmony is not an option for God’s people. It’s not even a really good and important ideal that can be abandoned when things get tough. No. Christian unity is a must for the people of God.
It’s a must because our love, peace and unity with each other reflects the grace and love of our Lord. Our commitment to harmony is an evangelistic strategy of God. As many of you know, Jesus prayed for our unity together so that the church (John 17:23) “may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
Now, it’s a process, isn’t it? What I mean is that our unity is something that we must strive for even as we can see we miss the mark. Jesus prayed that we may become perfectly one. This unity is a process. It takes time and grace. And by being patient with one another and seeking grace we discover how we need to confess and repent of (political) commitments and patterns that are unbecoming as followers of Jesus and divisive within the body. We need time and grace to see the Spirit work forgiveness and grace in us when we sin against each other.
To achieve this unity we must have an unwavering commitment together in the primacy of the person, work and message of Jesus. Nothing can be more important; no person, party, and platform can take a greater allegiance in our hearts than Jesus. When Jesus remains our greatest good, desire and work our political differences (no matter how great they may be) will not create divisions among us.
So, First Baptist, it’s getting close to crunch time. In just a few short weeks we are all going to be practicing our right as citizens and voting accordingly along with any kind of campaigning we may be do. Remember: our hope is in Jesus alone. See him high and lifted up; he rules the nations with a rod of iron. Nations rage, kingdoms totter and rulers take counsel together against the kingdom of our God. But he sits on his throne and laughs. At the right time he will judge the nations with great wrath. Take comfort, my brothers and sisters; his rule is what we need. ~Pastor Brian Wipf