Most of us are familiar with the greatest commandment: love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:28-30). And while I think we are aware of the second greatest commandment, “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31), it seems we give that one more lip service. I’m not sure that’s ever more obvious than during a Presidential election season.
I see a lot of evidence that many forget their allegiance is to Jesus and not to a political party. It manifests in the words we say to each other. To love your neighbor as yourself means to love them even if they support opposing political ideals or candidates than you do. Loving those who agree with us is easy. Discipleship is hard.
If we want to look like Jesus, we must put aside our hope in politicians and earthly leaders. I’m not saying one shouldn’t inform or involve themselves in politics, but if that becomes more important than obeying the commands of Christ, then you have a serious problem. Our conversations should focus on Jesus, and the hope He brings to the world. The policies of any person or party cannot and will not affect our eternity. Only Jesus holds the keys to life.
Whenever we engage with another person, our responsibility is to be an ambassador of Jesus. It’s not our first responsibility, it is our only one. Nothing in this world will last, and none of it ultimately matters. Only what we do for Jesus will survive the test of eternity. Only our love and devotion to Him will count when we die. None of the nonsense filling the airwaves (and too often our conversations) is worthy of our time. Remember, the apostle Paul told us to dwell on things that were true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable (Philippians 4:8). Little of our social media-fueled world meets those standards. I’d venture to say none of what we see or hear regarding politics could pass those criteria.
When you love your neighbor, you sacrifice for them. You die to your opinions and you serve those who disagree with you. We know this because it’s the way Jesus loves us. He doesn’t force His opinions on you. He tells you the truth and loves you regardless of what you do with that truth. Nothing you do can destroy the love God has for you. This is the way we should all love our neighbors.
Paul also told us whatever we say should be to build someone up (Ephesians 4:29). If we remember that and only allow our minds to dwell on the beauty of Christ, loving our neighbor will be a far easier task. Their political views don’t define their identity. God gives them their identity, and we must always love the person created in the image of our God. While you should always love your neighbor, it is vital we do so in this season. In a world intent on spewing hate and violence, followers of Jesus must differentiate themselves in hopes we may draw many to Christ. Love Jesus. Love your neighbors. Introduce them to what really matters in life. Dwell on the love of God and not the putrid divisions of this world.