Most people know that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus coming to Earth as a human. They also know that we mark Easter to celebrate Jesus’s death and resurrection which conquered death and gives us forgiveness for our sins. And there is so much more good news from his life and work — conquering politics, for one!
Whether they voted or not, most Americans had a deep emotional investment in this year’s election — so much so that families, friendships, and even church communities were torn apart by politics.
I attended a “Unity Forum” at my church that allowed people to vent their frustrations about the election and its aftermath. One of the very first people to speak was a woman who said that if her brothers and sisters in Christ had voted for Donald Trump, she had lost respect for them.
It got even uglier from there.
I listened to the fights and tears and accusations, and I chimed in clumsily at the end of the night with some encouragement — which I hope to refine here, not just for my local church but for all believers.
Our world is becoming increasingly tribal — us vs. them. Lobbing bombs from our camp at theirs. The hope for E pluribus unum seems to be receding, with no innocent parties. And this year may, indeed, have proven that ideal impossible for men to accomplish on their own.
So, do we throw our hands up and just retreat to the woods? Not at all — but we can stop worrying about the outcome of elections. That idea, I’m certain, is already popular among Trump fans — who make up many of Breitbart’s readers. Trump supporters at my church gave many exhortations for Hillary voters to trust in God and overcome their fear.
But the flipside of that message is: we don’t have to put our hope in the outcome, either.
And this is the easier sin. It’s almost a cliché to say, “The government is going against everything I believe, but I know that God is in control.” It is much, much harder to remember God’s kingdom when we are fixated on and trusting the work of a government that we think will make life better.
In Jesus’s time, some Jews expected the Messiah to be a political or military leader — a revolutionary who would overthrow the Roman empire. Yet he, as a carpenter who didn’t live to 40, accomplished so much more than that.
Jesus brought a new, otherworldly kingdom (John 18:36) — one that exists today within and across the world’s nations (Luke 13:29, 17:20-21) and will someday become the only authority in the world, with Jesus as both its King (Revelation 1:5) and Priest (Hebrews 4, 5). If we put our faith in a manmade nation — in our land, in our race, in a document like the Constitution, or a president — that faith will result in nothing, since all these things are not just guaranteed but prophesied to come to an end (Daniel 2, Revelation 21).
So how do we become part of this kingdom? God’s word says we must be “born again” — a concept that is very hard to explain since it is, in one sense, one size fits all, but radically different in the particulars for every single person.
In John chapter 3, before the famous sixteenth verse, Jesus discusses this new kingdom with a prominent Pharisee named Nicodemus. He reveals two things: No one can see the Kingdom of God (v. 3) unless they are born again, and no one can enter the Kingdom of God (v. 5) unless they are born of water and the Spirit.
Again, this is a very difficult thing to explain, and I certainly can’t do it in 900 words. If you want to know more about it, I urge you to ask a Christian about it — face to face, if possible. American Christians love people who ask us questions! It’s much easier than broaching the subject ourselves.
As for the nations where we find ourselves today, what does the Bible say about how much we should be involved in politics? It says we are to live as foreigners and exiles (1 Peter 2:11) within them, and we are to respect their laws and authority (Romans 13, Titus 3).
Ours is a representative government, so we should be informed and involved through voting and activism, but whatever the outcome of those efforts, our hope is in a different nation — the only lasting kingdom.
There are many causes where we can work to advance the Kingdom of God, and those will intersect with political activity. I’m certainly not discouraging anyone’s involvement in that. But, knowing what Jesus has accomplished, why get so worked up about a country’s affairs that we hate our neighbors, in direct contradiction of God’s own commands?
And this isn’t just to scold or pretend like I have this figured out and other people don’t. I need this reminder — because I, too, judge my brothers and sisters over politics! This is a message of freedom. We are free from worry. We are freed from following the minutiae of political schemes and conflicts, free from constant outrage, free from guilt by association, free from vengeance against those who hurt us, free from fearing those who kill the body.
Christ gives us liberty from all these things, and if you feel burdened by them today, I hope and I pray your Christmas celebration overcomes them.
Ezra Dulis is Deputy Managing Editor for Breitbart News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.