It goes without saying that the political and cultural situations in the United States make some Christians very upset, extremely worried, or remarkably angry. Some Christians who follow the news and latest happenings are increasingly grumpy, frustrated, touchy, and irate. In these and other situations, it’s important to cultivate a biblical attitude toward our current situation. I appreciate how David VanDrunen approaches this topic in a section of his helpful 2020 publication, Politics after Christendom. He gives three aspects of a biblical, Christian attitude towards the political situation we face. To be sure, these three aspects are applicable for Christians in other political situations as well. Here the are, in summary form – and I’ve put the three main points in bold.
A first feature that ought to characterize Christians’ attitude as they participate in public affairs is accepting the fleetingness of life. This present life is important, and political events can promote great good or impose true misery. Yet Scripture warns believers not to lose heart by letting weighty temporal matters overwhelm them. They should recognize that their lives are short and thus keep proper perspective when the problems of the moment threaten to blind them to all reality. …Christians must remember that some things are provisional. When the wicked surround the psalmist, and distress and anger build up in his heart (Ps. 39:1-3), he cries, “O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am…surely all mankind stands as a mere breath…” (cf. Ps. 90). …According to Paul, Christians’ “outer self is wasting away” and their afflictions are “light” and “momentary.” “The things that are seen are transient” (2 Cor. 4:14-16). …Christians thus ought to view political affairs with due perspective…..
….Gaining a heart of wisdom through numbering their days (Ps. 90:12) does not leave Christians in despair, for confidence in the Lord is a second characteristic that should shape their attitude. A sense of the fleetingness of life is hardly balm in itself. It becomes a consolation for beleagered Christians only when they turn to God as the one who endures, as the Lord of history who gives history its meaning. After asking God to teach him the measure of his days and the fleetingness of his existence, the psalmist continues: ‘And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you” (Ps. 39:7). Indeed, Scripture repeatedly points to God’s sovereignty as encouragement for his people as the confront the precariousness of life. God brings princes to nothing, causing them to wither as soon as they take root (Is. 40:23-24). He “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11). [Christians] cast all their anxieties upon him, because he cares for them (1 Pet. 5:7). They call upon God in the day of trouble, and he delivers them (Ps. 50:15). …In the face of evildoers, believers “fret not” (Ps. 37:1). …They commit their way to God, being still and waiting for him patiently (37:5, 7). They refrain from anger and forsake wrath (37:8)…. Political affairs are understandably a source of fear and anxiety. The stakes can be high, and the victors bear the sword. But even when nations rise and fall, Christians fret not. Their God is King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16). They do not know the outcome of world affairs, but he does.
Finally, the Christian’s attitude should be charitable, compassionate, and cheerful. If Christians are truly confident in God, as just discussed, they must show charity to their neighbors, for faith works through love (Gal. 5:6). They should overflow with the compassion of their Lord (e.g. Col. 3:12; cf. Mt. 9:26, etc.). Christians are often quick to view people of different political opinion as their enemies. In some cases, they may indeed be enemies, yet love for enemy is a chief attribute of Christ’s disciples (Mt. 5:43-48). It is deeply unbecoming when Christians complain incessantly about the state of political affairs, especially Christians who enjoy levels of prosperity, freedom, and peace that are the envy of the world. It is easy to be angry about losing one’s country – as if any country ever belonged to Christians. It is easy to demonize political opponents – as if Christians themselves are not sinners saved entirely by grace. It is easy to become bitter – as if “the lines” had not “fallen for [them] in pleasant places,” as if they did not have “a beautiful inheritance” (Ps. 16:6). Christians have become heirs of a kingdom that cannot be shaken…. Those who are heirs of a new creation are truly the most blessed people, and while they wait for their Lord’s return they have opportunity to love and bless all of their neighbors, even those who do not respond in kind, and to do so with a joyful spirit.
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015