Several years ago I was posed a question from myself. "are you so interested in politics because you are convinced that conservative policies will make your life better, or are you generally interested in the welfare of people in general?" This question was troublesome for me. It caused me to realize that my answer was not the proper one in the context of my professed beliefs. It, of course, was a question of motivation, and as such, even if what I wanted was a good thing for myself and others, I realized that without the proper motivation I would be unable to have a positive impact. Also, the blinding effect that bad motivations would have on me could cause me to be led astray easily.
As I wrestled with this question I began to realize that politics had become personal with me. They had become about winning, period. And since no one ever really "wins" in politics, the next logical step was an embittered heart. This would lead to a heart filled and motivated by hatred, which was a state of being that I realized I must begin to fight against. We've all seen the cars laden with arrogant and hateful bumper stickers, making their proclamations against hate of course. (click here for better picture)I did not want to become like that. But such reveals a very real danger faced in all our hearts. With the original intentions-regardless of the political philosophy through which they are hoped-being "the betterment of mankind", men are able to justify a darkened and hate filled heart because of the ends those intentions hope to achieve.
Such a problem is understandable for the non-Christian because of his lack of a reference point, outside of himself, from which to judge good and evil. But for the Christian it is evidence of his failing to fight the good fight in the war that is constantly being waged between the members of his body and the law of his mind.1
All of this said, I am no less adamant about politics. In fact, in many ways I have become even more adamant, for how can I love my neighbor and not want for him the best system of government under which to conduct his life. The person not interested in politics beyond government hand-outs does not "love" his neighbor-a reality that would come as quite a shock to his sensibilities were they not dulled by hatred or indifference. This is because those "hand-outs" come at a higher price than the actual hand-outs he is receiving. They are but a decoy which obscure other socially and economically destructive policies that are causing our neighbors more suffering. This results in a self-perpetuating need for even more hand-outs while obscuring even more destructive policies.
As a Christian I am commanded to love my neighbor. This necessarily includes making an impact on the policies adopted by our government. It also necessarily excludes actions, regardless of the goodness of the goals, propelled by improper motivations.
(1.) Rom 7:21-2521 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. NIV
Right vs Real - A longtime friend of mine has always drawn a distinction between "right" and "real". Ask a Christian a plainly-known question like "Are we saved by faith o...