Four Years and Eternity

An open letter to my fellow American Christian friends:

In just a few days from now one of the most talked about elections in the history of the world will be decided. For the past many months we have heard numerous interviews, debates, and opinions on who is the better candidate. Many of us have shared with passionate hearts and high-volume words why we think Christians should support, or not support, a particular candidate. Many of us have posted persuasive articles and powerful videos on social media in order to convince and convert others to join our political bandwagon. Whether it has been immigration, abortion, potential supreme court nominees, candidate character, or other issues, many of us have done all we can think of in order to stand on the rooftops and scream our hearts out on our thoughts on these issues. Why do many of us do this? That is not a hard question to answer. Simple. Because we truly believe that they are important for our country and our future.

As I have observed and thought about these things over the past few months, something inside of me has made my heart sink and my stomach ache. It has also caused me to do some self-examination. When I look by outward appearance, it seems that we have placed more interest, energy, promotion, and discussion on an election that missionswill determine the president for four years while there are billions of people on the edge of an eternity without Christ.

Before you say it, and hopefully think it, let me clarify something quickly. I get that there is more at stake than just four years. I get the fact that the next president will make decisions that will affect our country for a long time to come. I agree that issues like abortion, immigration, supreme court judges, and character are big, even huge issues. I believe that the Christian church should have clear and biblical stances on all moral issues. I believe we should lovingly share the biblical perspectives on these issues with conviction and resolve. And I am convinced that we should expect our leaders, Christian or not, to uphold a moral character that is an example to the citizens of our nation. I do not question any of that. I just question the proportion of our focus. I say our, for I am one with you, part of the same body of Christ. And regardless of your political opinion, we are blood-bought brothers and sisters. And that bond cannot be broken by who we think is the best, or the worst presidential candidate.

But let us think about something for a second. Something MUCH more important than this election should be our focus. Next Tuesday will one day be a day forgotten in eternity as we drown out its memory in the praise of our glorious Savoir. If we, as followers of the one true Lord, would place the same passion, fervency, urgency, energy, prayer, and money towards taking the eternal gospel to the ends of the world as we have done in proclaiming our opinions on social media for a four-year pawn, how much more could God be glorified, and how many more opportunities could we have in partnering with Him in His glorious mission of inviting millions, if not billions of people to know the joy of glorifying His name. I mean, here is a very good question brothers and sisters. What is more of a moral evil? A president who affirms the killing of babies, or a North American church, who has more wealth and resources than any other group of people in the 6000+ year history of the world, yet continues to let thousands of people groups go without witness and millions of people living in continual starvation? Do we do a lot to help in these areas? Sure we do. But in proportion to what God has given us, we have not done much. We have not been good stewards. We talk about how the US economy needs help. Think about that for just one moment. I get that we should be better stewards as a country in what we do with our tax money. We should not spend more than we bring in, and our government should be held to a better accountability. And we should demand that to be so. But, as we accuse the government of their bad management of resources, I can only feel that accusation hit home with me, and with us. Am I a good steward with what God has given me? Am I using His money for His glory, or am I spending it mainly on fleeting pleasures while a lost and dying world and my neighbour go to hell without witness? While we demand that the government be held accountable, are we making that same demand on ourselves? Can we properly call certain things evil, because they are the platform of a political candidate, yet at the same time not call our own actions just as evil? Are we right in declaring abortion, at any time period in the pregnancy, wrong, sin and evil? An absolute YES! But in doing so, we cannot be blind to our own evils. Our social media posts makes us appear that we are blind to our own hypocrisy.

I know at this point some reading this will think I am going too far. Maybe. But at this point I do not think so. My main point is this. Since this crazy, wild, and emotion-captivating election began, we Christians have been willing to vocally proclaim our thoughts. We have risked losing friends over supporting the candidate we think will be best for the next four years. We have laid our reputations on the cutting board as we post messages on social media that loudly and rudely show our positions. We have even slandered others (believers and non-believers) for not standing with us in our political stance and jumping on our bandwagon. And we justify it. My question is simple. Why do we not use this same energy (minus the sinful slandering that we should repent of) to shout from the rooftops the gospel to the nations? Why do we not take the same risks of reputation in order to share the gospel to our neighbours? It seems (and maybe I am wrong) that our Facebook friends, neighbours, co-workers, and the world  know tons about which candidate we support for the next four years, but they know very little about the Eternal King whose banner we are to be carrying. I think some now think we gather on Sundays to boast in the candidate we support (and slander the one we do not) rather than worship the King of kings who reigns forever. If the message of the gospel is being drowned out by our shouts, screams, and rants for our hope for next Tuesday, then we must change that. Some might be thinking, beginning Wednesday AM, they will return to being gospel focus. But should not Christ be preeminent in all things now? I believe the devil has used this election to turn our eyes off the real problem in our nation and world. Lostness. Does this mean the election is unimportant. Certainly not. But let us be honest for a sliver of a second. Most of the time the devil distracts us from the most important thing (proclaiming Christ and walking in holiness) by luring us to place our focus on some other good things.

I am praying for the election. I will not share who I support. I can only just guarantee you that my candidate will not win. I am also praying that the richest, most educated, most resourced church in the history of the world will turn its passion to proclaiming the gospel. I am praying that for me personally as well. May our political passion pale in comparison to our passion to obey, worship, honour, and love Christ. And may that passion overflow into witness to our neighbours and lost people all over the globe. May our relationships with others not be forever severed because of a conviction for a president. Division over things like that are just spiritually and eternally stupid. We must decide which is most important: four years or eternity. Lord help us.

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