by Zoe Heredia
I think we can all agree that the year 2020 was not a year to remember. So much had happened and our country was even more politically and racially divided than ever before. I began seeing so many posts on social media about racial equality, justice reform, what to say and what not to say to a specific group of people of color, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, and a whole lot of bible verse quotes. More specifically, I saw a lot of my Christian friends regularly active on social media, with a lot of bible verse posts (which was awesome) and then posts about how if anyone is a Trump supporter or a Biden supporter that they would cut them off completely and label them as homophobic, bigot, racists, jerks with fascists agendas (which was not so awesome). I began seeing a pattern to these posts and a pattern of my friends’ thinking and I began asking myself “How does this line up with Christianity?” It did not make sense to me. Does it not seem a little counterintuitive if we are posting about our political agendas and how we just cannot stand anyone else who thinks differently than us? How we constantly go off on a long-winded rant on Instagram about how terrible the conservatives or liberals are acting? It seems hypocritical to post a bible verse about God’s love for everyone and then the next post just over-shadows that by condemning anyone who has a different opinion or belief. That is all I have seen on social media throughout 2020. Now, seeing these types of posts and the political agendas being pushed on other social media platforms from secular, non-Christians does not surprise me, but from my fellow Christians, so many quotes from the bible that are just tossed around and chopped up to support political agendas and personal beliefs. It has gotten to where I am scared to talk to most of my friends about politics or social issues, to a point that I cannot have even a civil conversation with them.
In this generation of social media, Christians have used their social platforms to promote values such as equality, social justice and loving one another, which is a good thing; but somewhere along the way, it has turned hypocritical, subtly implying that ‘loving one another’ is conditional. Personal feelings and experiences have clouded our hearts into believing that anyone who thinks differently than us have no room in our lives and should be cut off immediately. As Christians, we need to do better. We need to stop prioritizing personal, racial, and political agendas, and start prioritizing the word and love of God, first and foremost.
Before we get into it, I would like to make myself very clear. First, this is aimed at Christians. If you read this and you are not a believer or identify in another faith, I would not expect this piece to charge your heart one way or the other, but please feel free to read in case you would like to know both sides of the spectrum. Second, I am saying that Christians should be involved or up-to-date in politics or social issues happening in our country. I believe this country was founded on Godly principles and that we as Christians should stand up against injustice, get involved as best we can, and constantly pray for our leaders and fellow Americans and take charge of our Government, while still remembering God is the ultimate authority (Roman 13:1-2). Third, I am not a theologian, apologist, or political genius. I am just a child of God who is sick and tired of seeing her Father’s word being twisted and cut to fit and defend someone’s political beliefs. If anything, it should be the other way around.
This last election had everyone on edge. It united and divided us; united us in the sense that we were able to rally enough people to go vote and let their voices be heard for real change. The other side to that, it divided us by taking sides and shouting out hate to one another online. Many proclamations were made of “if you support Trump, then I want nothing to do with you, go ahead and unfollow me” or “how can you call yourself a Christian if you support Biden?”.The fact is that Christians are still human, and we still have our opinions we believe in, but that does not mean we have to cut off anyone that questions those beliefs. Whether a Christian identifies as a liberal or conservative, either side will find a biblical passage to support their political side. Maybe that’s the problem; we approach Christianity as a way to find support in our political beliefs and then throw it in the others’ faces. C.S Lewis outlined this in his book Mere Christianity,saying “Most of us are not really approaching the subject of a Christian society in order to find out what Christianity says: we are approaching it in the hope of finding support from Christianity for the views of our own party.” There’s no set rules or steps in the Bible to help someone decide which party to support, and there’s no quote of Jesus saying “I am Jesus and I support this message”, but it does continuously say love one another and trust in His divine authority. 1 Peter 2:17 says to “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” Somewhere in our fear and pride of what state our country was in, Christians have forgotten the overall picture of Christianity. We are called to trust in God alone and love one another, liberal or conservative. God is outside of politics, and we as Christians need to set aside our personal feelings and pride of who is right or wrong. If anything, we should be open to having good conversations with one another. Jackie Hill Perry, a Christian author and poet, had said it best: “It’s easy to disregard the voices that don’t reside in your theological camp because tribalism and pride hold hands. By being deaf to the correction that God may be sending through other people with differing perspectives, you’re actually stunting your own growth.”
I will admit, I would get angry myself on the topic of politics and be quick to say something that was not so loving towards those that did not agree or believed differently than I. I was also quick to judge and disregard certain political candidates for certain parties, leaving little room or compassion in my heart for them. Writing this, I had to take a step back and ask God to humble my heart and remember He is in control. That this is not a battle of flesh and blood, but a spiritual battle that is trying to divide us. I am not perfect, I have my own opinions on things, and in that can be very prideful and quick to judge others. Though I have learned to watch out for my pride and be open to possibly being wrong in what I believe, learning a thing or two, and even confirming that what I believe lines up with God’s word. But this idea of cutting off friendships because they believe differently does not sit well with me. As Christians (myself included), we can preach about loving one another and acceptance and all that stuff, but if we let our politics create a hateful divide among ourselves and others, we are just a bunch of fools and liars. In the end, this world is temporary. God’s word will always have the last word. So, in the spirit of that, 1 John 4:20-21 reads “If anyone says, ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him; whoever loves God must also love his brother.”