Sunday, July 17, 2016

Political Fear

I love to study politics. That is why I worked hard to earn my doctorate in political science. I learned that a good scholar listens to all sides and tries to understand different perspectives (no, not all political scientists do this, unfortunately).

One thing that needs to be done more in election years is for people to listen to understand different opinions. Yet, fear drives people to stereotype the opposition, and when confronted with facts that challenge these stereotypes, such people often resort to name calling. Willful ignorance is the ally of fear.

What bothers me is this tactic works to reinforce the stereotypes, and is often used by Christians in violation of Exodus 20:16, I Peter 3:15, and many other verses in the Bible.

As an educator, I try to teach my students that there is nothing to fear in listening to others to understand why they believe they way they do. Furthermore, we Christians need to be reminded that the Kingdom of God will continue to grow on earth until Jesus returns in spite of what happens in politics:

"...on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." - Jesus in Matthew 16:18

 "And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirity teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." - Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20.

And finally,

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts our fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." - 1st John 4:18

No amount of fear will make the future better or help change the future to accomplish God's mission. Each of us needs to vote and argue on the basis on intelligent facts, and resolve in our hearts to allow others to disagree without receiving our condemnation. We need to focus on the "what" rather than the "who" in such political conversations.

The goal of Satan is to get an individual to take his or her mind's eye off of Jesus. Fear is a primary tool to accomplish this. Political fear is very effective in getting Christians to forget that God is in charge, even when the political outcome is bad. When this happens, politics becomes a dreadful idol in the human heart.

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