By Sata Bongoy
Two years of intense political contest ended last week with the victory of President Barack Obama. In terms of candidates, there was virtually close to no choice at all during these presidential elections; nevertheless I can say: I thank God for the results. The Bible tells us God “is ruler over the kingdom of men. He gives it to anyone He wants” (Daniel 4:17—you may read the entire chapter); this election is no exception. Now that the elections are over, Christians must persist with equal favor in interceding for our governments at the federal, state and local level. Our passion must be as equal, if not higher, as the one we demonstrated in the last stretch of the now bygone 2012 presidential campaign, when congregations all around the country have been fervently praying in view of November 6.
Being salt & light
Whether satisfied or sadden by the election results, Christians must not revert to conducting “business as usual”—meaning being politically apathetic or partisan-minded. Whether one self-identifies as a Democrat, Republican, or an Independent and regardless of who is in office, God’s mandate to Christ’s disciples has not changed. God calls us to be salt and light wherever we find ourselves (Matt. 5:12-14). If we were to stray away from our calling, Jesus renders this sobering verdict, we would “no longer be good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men” (Matt. 5:13). Similarly, if the Church would embrace her calling, we can model the change we so desire to see take place in our nation. How will we live out our calling to be salt and light? This is not the time to hold back but to step up and do something on the issues we dearly care about. God mandates us to do good to the poor, the widow, the immigrant, the orphan, and those spiritually and physically incarcerated. How can we express God’s love to them? How can we selflessly invest in others and lead them one step closer to the One, Jesus-Christ, who loves them more than our service to them can account for? If we lack the willingness in our hearts to service the least of these, we must ask God to give us His heart. If we have heard and accepted God’s call but know not where to begin, we must ask Jesus to give us wisdom. He promised to give liberally to those who ask Him in faith without doubting (James 1:5-6).
Staying clear from ineffectiveness
One of the main roadblocks to Christians fostering change is spiritual compromise and a partisan mindset. The latter dictates Christians must pledge unwavering allegiance to the donkey or the elephant, rather than allegiance to the Lamb. The Bible calls favoritism sin (James 1:8-10) and partisanship is favoritism’s political avatar. Spiritual compromise leads us to sell out on Biblical principles that are countercultural in order to be on the “good side” of one’s favored political party, while a partisan mentality refuses to vet good policies to suit political tribalism.
President Obama reiterated during his acceptance speech that he is willing to work with non-Democrats to foster bi-partisan policies. I pray he stays true to his word, and more so that Christians (laymen/women and the clergy) will know how to capitalize on the President’s willingness to work with diverse stakeholders.
Feet to our faith
I would like to end with these words spoken by Jesus instructing us to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Politics is a domain which has the potency to arouse much passion in individuals. As believers we must remember that regardless of our views on domestic or international issues, our words need to “always be gracious and seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6). There is this popular adage which states that damage is not caused as much by what you say but how you say it. Name-calling the president (as retard which Ann Coulter did), or any elected official, will certainly not make our voice and message clearly heard. This is a blatant expression of carnality (Gal. 5:13-25) and is a despicable misrepresentation of the character or our God. May we purpose throughout President Obama’s second term to pray daily for him, his cabinet, and our local and state officials, so they may govern wisely our nation. “Faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself” (James 2:17; 1 John 3:8). May we also put feet to our prayers and desire for change. There is no guarantee that every single one of our spiritual, social, and cultural stances will be accepted or respected, nevertheless we must at least give it our best shot.
Sata Bongoy is a freelance writer interested in the Christian experience in politics, culture, education and the arts.