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How to Stop the New Civil War

Dear Christian,

It seems obvious to me that our nation has for some time been moving toward a New Civil War. Political agendas have now become so entrenched in our culture, entertainment and places of work, that there is no escaping the battle cries around us. There are shots being fired, day and night, from every television set and social media outlet that exists. The bullets are made of words, memes, lies, half-truths, puns, cartoons, speeches, billboards, and corporate emails. Everyone is getting hit. But the wounded don’t die, they just fire back with both barrels, hoping to blow out two eyes from the guy who hit their one.

And you are being asked to join sides. Recruitment efforts are well underway. Agents for recruitment have been enlisted to help sign you up. You will find them hounding you from the internet, from company newsletters, from commercials, from every news media outlet, from your email in-box, and sadly even from the pulpits of your churches on Sunday. Take up arms! Once enlisted you will be trained in the subtle arts of snarky sarcasm and political pot-shots, how to create and share the favorite hand grenades of your party online, and how to ensure that everything you talk about concentrates on the main priority of smearing everyone on the other side. With practice, you will soon be able to effortlessly share how bad things are in any situation, and how the “other” party is only making it worse.

But here is the secret that no one is telling you: You don’t have to join either side. In fact, the most effective way bring this foolish New Civil War to an end is to simply refuse to take up the arms they are so eager to put into your hands. Ignore them. Say “no thanks.” More specifically, I share the following bits of advice to any Christian looking to stay out of this war and to rather focus on the occupation that Christ has called us to, which is to live for His glory and tell others the Good News.

First, turn off the news media. Turn it off. Stop participating in funding the war efforts by your endorsement of their tactics. Stop believing what they are telling you. Realize that 99.9% of what you hear is nothing that you can do anything about. Hardly anything being said passes the Bible’s test for what should be going into your head and heart. “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report…meditate on these things (Phil 4:8).”

Second, just stop talking about it. You will search long and hard for any long political rant in the writings of Paul, Peter, or John. Read through the gospels and ask whether or not Christ was very much concerned about politics. As a Christian, your words are held to a new and higher standard. Remember that. “Let your speech always be with grace (Col 4:6).” “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification…(Eph 4:29).”

Third, stop sharing politically motivated and divisive content on social media. Just stop it. As a Christian you have more important work to be doing, and shooting shots at the other political party (whoever that is) is wasting time and making it worse. Rather, put your nose in your Bible and tell the world what God has shown you about your own sinful heart, His holy standard, His gracious provision, and the life of faith in Jesus Christ. Remember that the Lord hates…HATES…”one who sows discord among brethren (Prov 6:19).”

Fourth, if you are a church leader or teacher, please stop making your political position the most important thing you talk about. If you truly find politics more interesting than sharing the gospel, then by all means do so. But resign from your position as an ambassador of Jesus Christ and take up ranks in the world. There are plenty of jobs for you. Make room for someone who truly wants to feed the sheep and find the lost, rather than using your pulpit or position to get people to vote in the “right” way. “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2).”

Fifth, and finally, I suggest investing yourself more deeply into the local church life and its ministries of worship, mercy, prayer, missions, singing, teaching, evangelism, Bible studies, service, encouragement, using your gifts, “washing feet”, loving one another and the communities into which God has placed us to tell the world about Jesus Christ. Have you joined a local church? If not, find a good one (not a perfect one), and do so. Already a member? Are you actually attending whenever they meet if you can? Why not? Please rethink your priorities. “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually (1 Cor. 12:27).”

I suspect I will lose some friends over words like these. They will argue that this is a form of weak pacifism, lazy thinking, and the type of approach that will lead to the further moral collapse of our country. My answer is simply…so what. That’s not my business. If I’m going to battle, I’ve got enough work with the sin in my own heart to keep me busy. If I’m going to shout, I’d rather tell the world about God’s grace and all He has done, than what some president is doing wrong. I’m frankly not doing my main job well enough to be distracted with work I’ve never been called to do.

Photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash

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