Why Do Christians Allow Politics to Divide Us When We are to be United in God’s Love?

Keith KettenringChristian Living, The Uncommon Journey

Do you detest Nancy Pelosi? Do you despise Donald Trump? Do get agitated because your Christian brothers and sisters, neighbors, or friends don’t see politics as you do? “How can they call themselves Christian and vote in a party that supports the killing of the innocent unborn?” “How can they claim to be Christian and support a racist party that oppresses the poor and marginalized?” “Do they really support gay marriage?” “What about gun control?” “There’s only one clear position on these issues, and it’s mine!”

In my simplistic thinking, I believe Christians are to love everyone though we don’t have to like what they believe or their actions. For example, I am to love Donald Trump though I disagree with his actions and the way he leads this country. I am to love Nancy Pelosi even though I do not like her actions and the way she wants to lead this country.

I know this is a HUGE stretch for each of us. These people who are so opposed to our convictions are beyond difficult to love. That’s why it has to be a love we don’t naturally possess. It must be a love given to us by Jesus Christ who in His compassion for all humankind, gave His life for all – including gays, blacks, Democrats, Republicans, irresponsible, criminal, overweight, racists, murderers, Russians, police, politicians, protesters, slow drivers, disabled, “losers,” straight, Boston Red Sox fans, and illegals.

Loving all people seems obvious from Christ’s own example of love, from the knowledge that God is love, and from all that the writers of scripture teach us about loving our neighbor no matter who they might be or what they believe. So, why is loving others so crazy hard to do?

Is it difficult due to my inability or unwillingness…

to love those who are different?

to die to my own self?

to question my basic beliefs?

to admit my ignorances and prejudices?

to live without labeling others?

to see myself as a broken, sick person in need of healing?

to prioritize the Kingdom (or Church) over my country?

to forgive an abuser or someone who mistreated me or someone I care for?

Loving like this goes for white progressives as well as political conservatives, black liberals as well as passive libertarians. We all need to learn how to love as God does.

This doesn’t mean we overlook wrongs committed. God certainly did not. But He did something about it in a deeply loving manner. Jesus Christ humbled himself – in emptiness and service in becoming human that He might save all wretched and sick humanity. His mercy is afforded to every kind of person.

Is this how we live towards others? To do so is to be like Jesus.

I am reminded of this provocative piece of prose. I’m afraid all of us, to some degree, can say these words ourselves.

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk, or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth.
I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please. 

(Three Dollars Worth of God, Wilbur Rees) 

Are you open to allowing God to make you more loving towards your neighbor no matter who they might be or what they believe?

This kind of love can begin to develop within you through prayer – praying for those we love, those who are difficult to love, and even our enemies. If you don’t know what to pray, simply ask for God’s mercy on them. “Lord, have mercy on _________.” See what happens over the next few weeks of simply praying like this, especially during this volatile political season.

Share your thoughts and/or results of praying like this below. 

To the God who is love towards every human being…

Dr. K/Keith