I recently wrote an article about being “of the right spirit (mindset.)” You can read about this political spirit here.
This article describes ways to know if one has partnered with a mindset not exactly from heaven. Here are some indicators that one might be living trapped in a religious/partisan mindset:
- If commitment to a political party or ideology allows or causes one to willingly stretch their morals for the “good end” that comes with maintaining political power (yeah, I don’t like how the President treats people, but I know he’s going to appoint good Supreme Court justices or “but… but the economy’s good. That must mean God is happy with us, right?”)
- If passing laws becomes a vital focus to force good behavior from people. (I have to support my party to maintain power because God will be angry with our country if the other, evil party wins)
- Building a case to criticize people of opposition. (Yeah, my President is wise to use executive orders to go around an evil congress. The last president used executive orders because he wanted to subvert the constitution.)
- Influence is not as important as ideological purity (yeah I’ve lost relationships but that’s just because people can handle it when I stand for “truth!”)
- Civic pursuits are conflated with Biblical stances (My faith compels me to be anti-tax, pro-gun and militantly nationalistic and I look down on anyone who isn’t to my standard on any of those issues.)
- The good news story of Jesus and the Bible often gets lost in the advancement of the political discussions/issues one finds important.
- When one acts in an anti-social manner, then claims the natural reactions of others to that negativity to be “persecution.”
- When it becomes easy to find enemies and evil in people and people groups.
In the Bible, Jesus was extremely negative about religious leaders who were driven by a believe that God’s purpose for their time was to restore their country to its former greatness. The Roman government had tyrannized Israel and the people of Israel were rightly dismayed but wrongly believed it was God’s goal to overthrow Rome. In the mistaken belief, the religious leaders gave themselves permission to impose heavy rules on the people and to withhold God’s grace from them.
This mindset can compare closely with today’s evangelical mindset that believes the appropriate laws to impose biblical beliefs in America will again restore America to some past, perceived former ideal of being a “Christian Nation.” To this end, Christian have justified an “ends justifies the means” mindset and has given permission for a lack of empathy to the poor and marginalized. Were Jesus on earth today, I think some more tables might be overturned in our churches.
I believe God’s heart is for a repentance to come on his followers. This repentance – or changing of our mindset – will enable God followers to fully participate in a powerful, positive transformation of our cities and the correction of systematic injustice that has plagued our government and civic systems for decades.
We need scales to fall from our eyes so that we can see and hear the true possibilities of what God has in store for us in this moment in history. His promises are too sweet, to trade them in for political victories. And, in the end, we will see what we’ve desired to see anyway – families and relationships restored, a better life for future generations and a peace to come for our state and country. I swear, it’s in the Bible and it’s worth a try. The other way simply isn’t working out.