The Political Illusion

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler

A sprout emerges from a fissure in the pavement.

As I write this, the political atmosphere in my country is discouraging. Great fissures have opened between the two parties vying for power in our country. Passions are white hot with both sides looking for opportunities to trounce the opposition. The slightest misstep is eagerly pounced on and endlessly discussed. No one seems intent on searching for truth because the game is not about truth but only about winning. Watching the news seems like an exercise in frustration because the media is all about spin.

Unfortunately, many Christians have allowed fissures to develop in their relationships with other Christians because they do not see eye to eye on politics. Tragically, politics has sometimes trumped love in the Christian community.

Though political policies can be of critical importance to the health of a nation, ultimately politics is pretty much an outside-in game—a power play by people certain they know what’s best for everyone else. And though Christians should be involved in all aspects of the political process, we must resist the political illusions that characterize our generation.

The first illusion is that there is a political solution to every single problem we face. And the second is that the most transformative power in the world is political in nature.

As Christians, we must realize that political power is both seductive and illusory. It promises more than it can deliver. Though it can do some things, it can’t do all things. Quite often it cannot even begin to resolve our most difficult problems.

Unlike political power, the most profound power in the universe is one that operates not from the outside but from within. It is a power that can shape destinies and influence history. The power I am talking about is spiritual. It comes from God and not from society.

Think about the way you exercise power in your own life, particularly over yourself. How effective have you been in improving yourself simply by exerting your willpower? You may have met with some limited success, breaking a bad habit or two, but without the transformative power of the Holy Spirit you will never become the person you want to be and you will never do the things God is calling you to do. If you can’t change yourself, who can you change?

Today let us ask God to fill us with his Holy Spirit, a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and might so that we and those around us can become the kind of people who can build a society in which justice, truth, mercy, and goodness will prevail. Let us not abdicate our political responsibilities but let us exercise them, serving in the power God gives.

 

 

 
Originally published April 26, 2018.

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