No room for rancor in the church

Used with permission from

In the United States, there is a political divide that is palpable. Left and right spend little time in real dialog and a lot of time shouting across the divide. Sadly, the church has not been unaffected by the rancor.

It may be hard for you to get your head around the fact that you may go to church with people that voted for the other candidate, the one that you strenuously opposed. You might be tempted to doubt the sincerity of the faith of someone who voted against who you think was the better candidate.

Perhaps Paul offers us an antidote in the verses quoted below.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4, ESV)

We are to pray for “all people”, even that candidate that is so disagreeable to you. We are to pray for those who voted differently that we did. We are to pray for our elected officials even if we did not support their candidacy and especially if we disagree with their political agenda.

It is so easy to get caught up in the labeling of other people. Adjectives like liberal, conservative, progressive, left-wing, right-wing, etc. carry so much baggage, always oversimplify and are not very helpful. The fact that I have encountered this type of rhetoric in the church is lamentable.

In the church, we must keep in mind that we are not called to support a political agenda. Our agenda should be defined by the command to make disciples of Jesus Christ. We may disagree on what the government should be doing with regard to any number of issues, but every Christian should agree that the government is limited in how much good it can do.

The government is limited in how much good it can do because it can only alleviate some of the symptoms of what is wrong with the world. But one does not cure the disease by seeking relief from the symptoms. To cure what is wrong, the disease itself must be attacked and conquered. It is only the Gospel of Jesus Christ that can transform a heart. And heart transformation is the only thing that will begin to address the problems we see around us.

Rather than getting all worked up about your Christian brother who has a different idea about what the government should or should not be doing, why not offer to pray with him. If you are both believers, what you have in common should be so much more powerful than the issues over which you might divide.

By praying together, you will stop seeing your brother as the enemy and become unified in confronting the real Enemy.