It is ironic that the following words could just as easily have been written to conservative evangelicals who, over the past eight years, had become wildly fearful of President Barack Obama and his policies. For they became a people professing to follow Jesus, while becoming obsessed and entrenched with the politics of our country, abandoning the peaceful, loving, non-fearful way of Jesus.
And while this has been wildly apparent, many progressive Christians have done the exact same thing. They have been consumed by a fear of President Donald Trump and have resorted to attitudes and characteristics that look nothing like the Jesus they profess to follow.
It doesn’t matter which side of the political spectrum you are on. This country is not your hope. This political system is not your hope. This government is not your hope. This president is not your hope.
Each one of them will continue to fail you because they are comprised of broken and sinful people. And despite the political leanings of our leaders and the vision they have for this country, our country exists to increase wealth and power in the world. And the means by which our country achieves those ends at the very foundation, at the very core, can be nothing but antithetical to the way of Jesus.
This is the way it has always been and the way it will always continue to be. A country cannot follow Jesus.
This is not a lament. It is a reality. And we are mistaken if we ever hold our politicians, government, and country to that standard.
Now with that being said, we can use our voices, we can cast our votes, we can try to influence it to be more equitable and just, but it will always be a monster that exists for its own wealth and power. It will always be a monster that exists for its own self-interest. And it will always be a monster that devours anyone who stands in its way.
That is the inherent nature of governments. That is what they have always been and that’s what they will continue to be until the very end.
Yet somehow, so many Christians still try to redeem it or have expectations that it ought to be inherently moral or just. But the truth is that, not only can a government not be redeemed, it cannot be wholly moral or just. A government may, on occasion, make a moral or just decision or implement a moral or just law, but we are sadly mistaken when we believe it can be cleansed and made whole.
No matter your governmental idealism, a government will always work to perpetuate its own wealth and power, and in the process will create victims, casualties and collateral damage.
This is the predictably destructive path of every single man-made government in the history of mankind. Our leaders, our government, and our country are no different.
That is why Jesus did not waste time trying to reform governments, because they are interminably broken. They will always operate out of self-interest. And they will always leave a trail of devastation in their wake.
Jesus stepped outside of the fractured, divided, oppressive systems of the world and invited people into an entirely different present reality that, despite the wreckage around us, exists as a refuge to those who no longer put their hope, faith and trust in these broken systems and to those who have been victims and casualties of the system.
The invitation is to come out of a hope, faith and trust in broken governmental leaders and systems and into a hope, faith, and trust in Jesus and his kingdom of wholeness and healing.
The invitation is to come out of political division and animosity and into a Kingdom of diverse unity and graceful brotherhood and sisterhood.
The invitation is to come out of a life slavishly glued to politics and political news hour-by-hour and into a Kingdom of ever-present liberation and shalom.
The invitation is to come out of lives consumed by verbally demeaning and destroying people or candidates who disagree with your politics and into a kingdom working and praying for the healing and restoration of people and the reconciliation of relationships with all people.
The invitation is to come out of hatred toward political leaders, their followers, and every group of people you are told are your enemies and into a kingdom of self-sacrificial love for every political leader, political foe, and every single group of people you are told to hate and stand against.
The invitation is to come out of lives utterly ravaged by the fear of political leaders and their followers and into a Kingdom that will fearlessly move forward as peace emissaries, hope ambassadors, and a light in the darkness.
Let us be a people who are not easily swayed by propaganda, talking heads, political leaders, or any other thing that could lead us astray presently or as times become increasingly uncertain, but rather let us be a people resolved to know Jesus so intimately, his kingdom so thoroughly, his voice so specifically, that we could never be misguided.
And let us be a people who are not sucked into the national news headlines, the talk-show venom, the political mudslinging, the divisive rhetoric, and the cultural instigation presently or in times when it will be easier to blame and hate others, but rather let us be a people so overwhelmed and full of the love of God that we would rather give our lives than not give that love away.