Political Attacks: Helpful or Hurtful?

May 11, 2013

golden-do-untoIt has really bothered me lately to see some of my Christian conservative friends slamming some of our state politicians publicly. I don’t mean policy disagreements. I mean name-calling and false accusations. Have we forgotten our ultimate purpose in the political realm – to share and exalt the gospel? It doesn’t matter if a politician is Christian or not – in fact if they’re not Christian, that’s all the more reason to reach out to them in love. The same Biblical principles that are supposed to guide us in relationships applies to how we dialogue publicly with elected officials as well. We should speak the truth in love and we should confront our brothers and sisters in Christ in private if we have a problem with them. Politicians who profess to be Christians need to be treated like brothers and sisters in Christ, whether we agree with them or not.

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to visit the state legislature in Raleigh on multiple occasions over the past couple of months. I have gotten to know some of the Representatives, their legislative assistants, and even some of their family members. It’s easy to criticize someone you’ve never met. It’s just a name. You’ve never looked into their eyes or seen them reach out to help others in little ways that most people will never know about. Perhaps if we had less social media and more face-to-face interactions, people would feel differently?

One of the leaders in Raleigh has been singled out as the target of frequent and hostile criticism in recent months. I have observed this leader always take time to share stories with children who visit his office. I have seen the tears in the eyes of legislators and their spouses when people offer small gestures of kindness and gratitude for the way they serve their constituents. I have seen the way legislators run from meeting to meeting all day long, sometimes never even stopping to eat. I don’t think most people realize what a stressful job it is. I wonder if every political activist had the chance to experience what I have, if they would really be so quick to criticize and so harsh with their words?

I think it’s time we examine ourselves and ask if we’re conducting ourselves in a way that will attract people to the gospel or are we hindering it? What are we seeking to accomplish – to be helpful or hurtful? We must remember it is never just about policies/legislation that we want passed. This world is not our home. We’re going to make a bigger difference by spreading the gospel in the political realm than we are if we focus exclusively on getting politicians to do what we want. I have to wonder if this is the reason so many Christians and churches have been driven away from political involvement – because of the hateful and destructive tactics that they see. My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, are we committed to doing something to change this?

 

By: Jennifer Mauney

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