If Jesus lived in twenty-first century America, what would He think about our current political concerns? What would He think about gun control or immigration or even how we do taxes? Would He care about welfare? Healthcare? Prison reform? Would He recycle?
Here’s a scary question. Would Jesus have been more likely to vote for Trump, Clinton or someone else in the 2016 election? Are you sure He would have voted at all?
But perhaps the most important question we could ask about this hypothetical, politically minded, “American Jesus” is, what would His political beliefs be based on?
In other words, what would be the why behind His beliefs?
“Our political convictions should be informed by the gospel rather than by our personal preference.”
There’s a verse in the Bible that perfectly sums up Jesus’ mission on earth. This verse was the bedrock for His ministry. It permeated His whole life, from what He did, to how He thought. And I think it would have also been the primary influence of His political convictions, had He lived in a world like ours.
“I came to give life—life that is full and good,” (John 10:10).
I wonder if we woke up every morning believing that our purpose today is to increase the quality of someone’s life, how different would we live? What would our conversations and interactions look like? Would we interact with drivers on the highway differently, or talk to our barista differently or converse with our spouse and kids differently?
And what about our political ideas?
For many of us, what we think about politics is somehow separate from our religious convictions. It is sometimes almost treated as an exception to our faith rather than a reflection of it. But for Jesus, His mission affected every part of Him. There was nothing left untouched by His calling.
Shouldn’t it be that way with us?
The thing that really confuses me about politics is how pre-packaged it all is. If I believe that abortion is wrong, for some reason that also means I am supposed to be hard on immigration, soft on gun control and dismiss global warming as a myth.
As Christians, our political beliefs should not be bundled and pre-packaged into two neat categories color coded red or blue. We should instead think hard about each issue individually and form our beliefs around one simple question.
What outcome would result in “life that is full and good” for as many people as possible?
“I came to give life—life that is full and good.” (John 10:10)
Our political convictions should be informed by the gospel rather than by our personal preference or the agenda of the party we are affiliated with.
More than anything, our political beliefs, like the rest of our lives, should look like Jesus. How we see the world, how we vote and even how we rant on social media should have, at its core, the goal of increasing the quality of the lives of others as Jesus would, not as our opinions would.
A great place to start is by asking ourselves, do my political beliefs reflect my faith and His character or are they an exception to it?