Why Get Involved?
There are many ideas on Christian involvement in politics... some favorable and some not. I am sure most are sincerely held but not all are correct... or are they. It may be like eating meat or keeping the Sabbath.
One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
Romans 14:5-8 NIV
So it would seem to be with involvement in the public forum. Some are called to it in a very visible way and others don't feel comfortable doing it themselves. I would urge these to at least support people willing to enter the arena and absorb the criticism and, at times, outright lies that are flung at them when they stand for things we know to be right. The enemy tries hard enough to destroy such people, their own brothers and sisters do not have to help.
Some believe in a dual citizenship, that being heaven and earth with our primary responsibility to our heavenly citizenship. This has been around a while. However, I have to think back to a course I had in college, called "Man in God's World" that broke down that separation. We didn't look for a theocracy or any kind of religious state, but looked at life from the perspective that everything in a Christian life was meant to honor God and that the Christian represented Him in everything we do. We can't breakdown our existence into the strictly physical or spiritual. The fact is that we are spiritual beings living in a physical world.
As we go through life, coming in contact with those around us, we will leave them better or worse by our actions and attitudes. Can we live out our beliefs by withdrawing from the processes that impact the lives of everyone around us, locally, nationally and worldwide? Does not our sense of justice, right and wrong, or concern for our neighbor compel to to speak up in the public forum? I believe it does and hence requires Christians to take part in the contact sport of politics. I say sport, because we must approach our activity with a determination to put forth our best effort and drive through to the finish. In reality we are in conflict that is as serious as life and death itself.
Are the outcomes completely in our hands? We know who is really in control, but if we are about His business in the public forum, is there any way we can give less than our best? Can we sit by quietly while people are being harmed or treated unjustly?
We are told to respect and pray for our leaders. This does not mean we should blindly follow and refuse to speak up when we are going in the wrong direction. We need to keep in mind what Peter said when he and John were called into the Sanhedrin for preaching in Jerusalem:
Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, "Which is right in God's eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."
Acts 4:18-20 NIV
So, and this is the scary part for believers and non-believers alike, we live in this world, but are responsible to a higher authority. Let us carry our responsibility well and be the public ambassadors we are meant to be.