The current political climate, the meltdown on the left, and the angst on the right concerning the conduct of those on the left is not surprising when you look at it from a spiritual perspective. I’m no longer a political animal, but when I was I always wondered why the conservatives had, for the most part, the right ideas but just didn’t know how to wield power when they had it, and why the liberals, for the most part, had the wrong ideas but sure knew how to wield power when they had it?
Since then I have turned my attention to a far better pursuit, which is answering the question, “Do we live as citizens of the kingdom of heaven on earth or the kingdom of man, and do we understand the difference?” Offering my standard disclaimer before discussing what could be construed as political comment: I don’t vote, don’t believe Christians have any place in politics in our day, and other than as it may apply to eschatological concerns I no longer care about how the world governs itself. I say what I say to hopefully put current events into proper spiritual perspective for the preservation of the elect, and nothing more.
The kingdom question is, of course, foolishness to those who do not believe because the kingdom is hidden from them (John 8:44, 2 Tim. 3:13). Nevertheless, there is no middle ground or third option for any of us. Jesus, the One who embodied and brought the kingdom of heaven to earth clearly stated, “You are for Me or against Me. You gather with Me or you scatter” (Matt. 12). He came to set up an entirely new kingdom, open the door to it through His sacrifice on the cross, and then make it available to us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This spiritual kingdom was the kingdom we would either be “gathered to,” by becoming citizens of it, or our allegiances would be “scattered” to the kingdom of man.
Understanding the current political climate from a kingdom perspective helps us shine some light on the widening, increasingly unreconcilable, chasm between conservatives and liberals today. What sets them apart isn’t as much political ideologies as faith. Surveys have shown the typical liberal professes no faith in God, while the typical conservative does. One recent survey showed over ¾ of liberals think Christiabs are just as violent and dangerous as Muslims. The reason the chasm continues to widen, and there is little if any “reaching across the isle” any more in Washington, is due to the fact that your faith determines your allegiances in this life. The god of this world promotes idols, money, power, false gods, and most importantly man, or “self”. The God of the Bible is diametrically opposed to all of this, and which you follow determines your morality, and thus the way you think and act.
Authentic morality and truth, to exist, must originate from a source outside and apart from human will, understanding, and perspective. If there is no external source of truth we answer to, then truth is up to each of us individually. If truth were “in us,” whatever we individually deemed to be truth would in reality be truth, and observing the vast differences in opinions these days we can easily see that is impossible. What we each hold individually is perspective, not truth, and it’s likewise abundantly clear observing the political landscape today perspectives fall all over the map.
So what is truth? One of the definitions is, simply, “that which is…that which exists.” Truth is not open to debate, discussion, or opinion. Only perspective is. When it comes to truth, God said to Abraham when he was sent to Pharaoh, “Tell Pharaoh the Great I AM sent you” (Gen. 3). Jesus proclaimed, “I AM the way, the TRUTH, and the life” (John 14). In both instances, God was proclaiming, simply, He was. He existed. He was truth. Those who put their faith in Him, therefore, have truth, and from a source outside of their own perspectives. As mentioned before, that same God has blinded the eyes of those who do not believe, specifically so they will not see the truth. That God is truth is not debatable, only what we perceive [believe] about Him is. This chasm between who has had the door of truth opened to them, and not, leads in three ways the great divide we now witness in American politics.
First, without a higher authority than themselves [man], there is no moral compass. Ergo, unbelievers [liberals in this case] don’t care how they get what they want, or if what they want is true, right, or good. Rather, morality changes with the circumstance, and any means to an end can be justified. They want complete freedom to do whatever their flesh desires, which typically falls outside of the laws of God (Gal. 5:16-17). They want to control their own lives, and live the good life without cost, which means living off the labor of others. As your own deity you become selfish, self-centered, egotistical, and entitled. Conversely, bowing the knee to that “higher power” of morality forbids such living.
Second: The old saying is true, that God put a “Him” shaped vacuum in everyone. As Bob Dylan once wrote, “You can serve the Devil, or you can serve the Lord, but you’re going to serve somebody.” No one lives in a religious vacuum, and everyone puts their hope in something—has “faith” in something. To say you are not religious because you don’t believe in any deity is foolishness. The moment you say that, you have made a religion of man and non-belief. If our belief is not in God, it is in man. If it is not in the Creator, it is in the created. Either way belief, and hence religion, still exists.
And what is the highest order of belief in man, if not in those who are control of men? Governments therefore become your hope, because they wield the ultimate power over your kingdom of man. So, if anyone thinks the insanity they are watching from liberals now is going to abate, forget it. It’s only going to get worse. The do not live in reality, but live in an entirely different reality. They follow their religion. While conservatives can learn to live with governments they fundamentally oppose, and this because they have a higher power they worship above governments, liberals can never bow. That would be like asking Christians to turn their backs on God.
What unbelievers don’t realize is if you don’t believe in God, then by default, as Dylan puts it, Satan becomes your god. There are only two real choices as established by the One who is truth: the God of the kingdom and the god of this world. There is no position of passivism where one can exist safely in the center, out of the spiritual war that rages daily for the souls of men. In God’s economy, there are no “moderates” (Rev. 3:16).
Finally, while people who believe in God can certainly hold grudges, be frustrated, and get angry they simply cannot hate. If there is any portion of the Spirit of God in their lives, hatred just isn’t an option. Observing recent reactions by liberals around the country, it becomes obvious they hold a deep, abiding, and even violent hatred for those who do not agree with them politically. Violence among the crowds of screaming, threatening, hostile rioters is not the exception, but the norm. I do sincerely fear for President Trump’s life if he continues to act so forcefully and decisively on the agenda he ran on. Not that he shouldn’t, because that’s why he was elected. But when you consider the vitriol, insanity, and violence we’re witnessing, and who’s really behind it all, attempts at assassination would not be out of the question. Such conduct could not even be conceived of by conservatives, for their moral compass would not allow it.
Back to the original question, the reason liberals know so well how to wield earthly power is because that power is their “religion”. They can, and will, justify any sort of actions to win at the game of politics, because winning means ultimate victory over their kingdom. They will undertake all forms of lawlessness with impunity among their peers. They will steadfastly vote for people who, like them, have no moral center without batting an eye. They will rig elections, lie, blame anyone and anything if results don’t go their way, refuse 1st amendment rights to those who disagree with them, maliciously destroy the lives of their opponents, and anything else it takes to win. Their candidates get caught engaging in all sorts of despicable, even illegal, activities and they are justified or covered up by their party, applauded by their minions, and even nominated for the highest offices in the land. Who can argue, in light of recent events, they take on their political agendas with nothing less than “religious fervor?”
Conversely, candidates of conservatives caught in such pursuits typically end up losing their support and are forced to resign. When people conservatives find politically dangerous, and even morally repugnant, are voted into office they swallow hard. Nonetheless, they accept the law of elections and the results. They don’t like losing any more than anyone else does, but they peacefully accept the outcomes because God says they are to (Rom. 13). You see no violent mob riots, no closing down of roadways, no burning and looting, no blockading businesses, and no threats of murder from people with a moral center.
Having that moral foundation, most conservatives embrace such axioms as absolute truth, right, and wrong that exist apart and unshakable from what they wished they were at times. Even the most lukewarm of believers contain some bit of God’s Spirit living in them, and nothing in this world, no matter how badly their flesh may desire it, can make them violate their spiritual compass. Lines exist that, unlike liberals who believe in their own truth, conservatives just cannot cross because God’s Spirt which is apart, and at the same time within, them says, “No.”
When you come to understand the great divide in this light, liberal’s conduct is not only understandable, it is predictable. What conservatives failing to view the battle from a kingdom perspective see as amoral or unconscionable behavior, I would submit is in fact religious fervor. What drives liberals is the same god who drives radical Muslims to engage in ways that shock the rest of the world. They do what they do with a smile on their faces, because they believe their cause is righteous and they’re acting in the name of their god(s).
So, in a worldly sense elections between conservatives and liberals have indeed become unfair fights. The debates that used to be a matter of political ideals have now become a war between good and evil. One side is morally free to play dirty, while the other is not. One is free to wield power in a way the other’s conscience cannot allow. Perhaps this is why Donald Trump was elected. Perhaps, like the Jews who used the Romans to crucify Jesus because their law forbade it, conservatives looked at Trump as a man who, while espousing conservative policies, did not have the constraints of moral character they had and could fight fire with fire. I’m not judging Trump because, like most, I really don’t know him. But one thing was clear: conservatives were tired of typical Republican candidates who couldn’t get things done when they had the power.
So, what are those trying to live according to the kingdom to do? First, they must remember as they observe liberal thinking and actions are Jesus’ words, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:24). They must take this out of a political perspective and keep it in a spiritual one. This will help them remember “our battle is not against flesh and blood” (Eph. 6:12), to keep them from the sorts of unchristian responses we now witness daily in blogs and social media. Involvement in politics always drives us far from the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22) If we hold to the truth Jesus gave us an entirely “new government that rests upon His shoulders” (Isa. 9:6) to fight for, and it looks nothing like the deplorable world of politics, it will help us to keep loving and setting an example for those who are ignorant to truth and morality. Our mission is different, our motives should be different, the weapons of warfare are different, and the goal is different. Those who put their hopes in this world prove they understand not the kingdom of heaven, for kingdom citizens “have been crucified with Christ,” they are to “come out from their midst and be separate” (2 Cor. 6:17), and should “not love the world, nor the things in the world” (1 John 2:16). If we fail in this, and get caught up in political, worldly strife, we will succumb to the reason Satan is orchestrating it all in the first place: to keep people from God.
Every second wasted on trying to legislate morality on a world where so few have any moral compass left, or “make America great again,” is fruitless. Our King: the One upon whom our government [as kingdom citizens] rests, has called us to a much higher calling: to “bear fruit for His kingdom that remains” (John 15) in the form of “making disciples who observe all He commanded” (Matt. 28). Please think about this, stop fretting over the actions of unbelievers, stop putting your hopes in politicians and political causes, and join those who spend their time working and fighting for the only kingdom that matters—the only kingdom that can bring real change that lasts: the kingdom of heaven on earth.
In conclusion, what we are now witnessing is not America’s Great Divide, but the world’s great divide. It is a battle between the only two true forces on this earth: God and Satan. Those with God’s moral compass placed within them can only go so far in wielding power. There is something they hold more dear than earthly power, and that is faith in what gave them their morality, and indeed their life, in the first place. It’s why they have better things to do, and politics is not life.