#7 in the Sermon on the Mount series.
America will be holding a presidential election in 2012. As a result, political advertisements and discussions fill the airwaves and pixels of the news outlets. It is the way of politics to seek and to wield power and influence. It is not always the wisest voice that holds sway, it is often the loudest.
There are some who feel the church should enter the political process by competing for influence. Not long ago, I had a discussion with a man who was frustrated with our church because we do not band together with other churches to influence local elections. He felt that if we worked together, we could elect candidates favorable to the Christian viewpoint and Christian morality.
Now, I’m all for having candidates who are favorable to the Christian viewpoint. My concern is that by using the normal means of political influence, the church would be in violation of this beatitude.
Remember the Moral Majority? Every time the church has wielded political power, it has turned out badly for all. Based on how some church leaders have behaved over the years, and some of the things that have been said in the political arena, I can understand some of the skepticism of non-believers toward Christianity.
When was the last time you saw a candidate or a political pundit and thought to yourself, “now there is meekness on display.” Meekness isn’t electable. Meekness doesn’t sell airtime or internet advertisements. Meekness doesn’t wield power or influence.
Christianity turned the Roman world upside down, not through influence of elections or by a takeover of the political process, but by individual believers living out their faith in meekness and honesty.
The church’s mission is to make disciples. We are called to live out our faith and teach others why we live that way. We are not called to peddle influence or seek special protection or to organize voting blocks. My suspicion is that those in the church who would seek to influence the political process may be more concerned about their comfort than about accomplishing the task that Jesus has set us to do.
Jesus tells us that the meek will inherit the earth. As believers, we can trust that by living out our faith, by following Jesus’ command to love, by being ready to explain our faith, we can be used by God to accomplish his plan for humanity.
I am not saying that individual believers are not to be involved in politics or the political process. I am also not saying that political candidates should not be open about their faith or their motivation to pursue a particular legislative agenda. What I am saying is that it is not the role of the church and church leadership to be organizing voters or to be pursuing political power.
We are called to accomplish our mission in meekness and humility. The outcome is certain if we do. Why then should we allow ourselves to get drawn into a battle that is not ours to fight?
Jesus told Peter in Matthew 26:52, that those who take up swords will ultimately die by them. The same is true of political swords.
The meek, not the politically astute, not the people of influence, will inherit the earth. Humility wins the day.