The conventions are over. The nominees are chosen. As we turn our attention to November, politics seem to permeate every social media channel, news station, and conversation. The hype can cause us to throw our identity behind our political party and who we're voting for. "Us" versus "Them" seems to be the name of the game. It's so much easier to alienate those with different political affiliations than it is to engage in a civil, helpful conversation about our differences.
In their early years, most kids end up adopting whatever political opinions their parents support. I can't count the number of conversations I've heard at Camp about how one candidate is "the only good choice" and the other candidate is "a liar", "will cause World War 3", or "is crazy!" (I've heard these things about candidates from both sides of the aisle).
How do we teach our children to engage in the political process with their character still in tact?
As Christ followers, it's important to remember our ultimate authority. God is the sovereign King over the whole world. His word trumps everything else (*that's not a comment about any specific candidate!*). He has given us the Bible as the final rule to guide us through our lives, which includes the how we vote. As parents, instilling Christ-like character into our children is what will ultimately drive their political decision-making.
Below are a few Scripture passages to help guide our families through election season, and affect positive change in our country.
"Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God." Romans 13:1
- We should confidently teach our children who is in control. Regardless of who's elected, Jesus is still the King (ref. Matthew 28:18).
"I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity." 1 Timothy 2:1-2
- We should pray for our leaders. Encourage your children to pray for world leaders, presidents, congressmen, senators, local politicians, teachers, and pastors. How can we expect each one to adequately fulfill their duties if we as citizens don't support them through prayer? It is only through the Holy Spirit where prayer is answered and communities are united.
"Remind believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone." Titus 3:1-2
- Love each other. Be gentle towards one another. It's easy to love people who think and act like you. The true test of love and humility comes when we reach out to the people on the "other" side of the spectrum. We must always remember these words of Paul in his letter to Titus:
"We too, were once foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy and we hated each other. But- when God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy" (Titus 3:3-5, paraphrased).
Jesus came to abolish "us vs. them." Let's stop accusing, judging, and condemning. Let's start loving, giving, and serving all in accordance with God's word.