Whatever your views on politics or wherever your political party affiliations lie, we all cannot run away from the fact that the political atmosphere in the country leaves a lot to be desired. The talk and thinking along tribal lines, the hatred which is been portrayed through insults and violence. To add insult to injury both parties keep pointing fingers at each other and yet the hatred, tribal talk and malicious slander is ever on the increase and people feel the need to pick a side and have their say. A number of Christians have correctly been disturbed by the state of affairs and have sought to do something to help the situation. So what is a Christian to do in such times?
Submit to the governing authority
This is probably a truth you know and have heard several times in your Christian life but do not be deceived into thinking that you obey it by the mere fact that you know it. We should appreciate the fact that when the bible calls believers to submit to authority the rulers of the day were in many cases persecuting Christians. Refusing to submit to human authority is in essence refusing to submit to God’s authority. Hear Paul’s charge to the Romans:
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Rom 13:1-3
Love your neighbor and enemy
When political lines are drawn and sides are picked we get so charged up and set our minds on winning, whether it is an election, an argument or in worse cases a fight. In fact not only do we want to win but we want to do so in a way that shames the opponent. We become obsessed with been right that anyone with a differing view is in our mind a stupid fool whom we cannot stand. Such attitudes may be expected of non-believers, it should not be so for Christians. Not only are we to love our neighbors, we are to love our enemies as well and do good to those who harm us and overcome evil with good. The hate speech, malicious slander, tribalism and violence should definitely not be found among Christians who claim to be in the likeness of Christ. Christians should be filled with love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control and humility. We need to learn that it is possible to disagree with each other and yet still live in harmony with each other. It’s not only humane, it is Christian.
Properly diagnose the problem
It is interesting that everyone is agreed we have problems as a country, but we are not all agreed as to what the problems actually are and worse still on what the solutions should be. Part of the reason there is confusion among Christians as to what their responsibility should be is that there is confusion on how to diagnose the problem. Our country has many issues ranging from poverty, unemployment, corruption, poor health services, lack of proper infrastructure, bad roads, bad governess etc. However, our biggest problem is a moral one. Sin in the human heart is the biggest challenge and problem we face. It is because of sin that people are corrupt and self-serving. It is because of sin that people will steal and kill. It is because of sin that people abuse authority. It is because of sin that lies, fights, slander, hatred, tribalism and violence exist among us. Therefore unless sin is rooted out of the human heart any other solution is temporal and bound to fail as it simply removes the fruit and leave the roots.
Believe in the power of the gospel
If sin is our biggest problem as the country, then the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only solution. Paul cries out “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation”. Elsewhere he says “woe unto me if I do not preach Christ and him crucified” Paul lived in a time when Christians were persecuted by rulers, inequality was on the rampant, hatred and tribalism and yet he preached the gospel. Many think this is a political problem that will not be solved without a political strategy. There are many Christians who think the only and best solution to dealing with the problems in our country are through political means i.e. lobbying, demonstration, press releases and boycotts. However Zambia’s problem is not political, it is a moral one and the only lasting solution is the gospel.
We are in a spiritual battle against worldly thinking and ideologies, and we achieve victory over them only with the weapon of Scripture. Paul says: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). The moral bankruptcy in our country is an indictment on the church of Jesus Christ. While evil and darkness is raging where is the light of the gospel? Where is the light of Jesus shinning in Christians in our society?
John MacArthur is spot on when he says “we must reject all that is ungodly and false and never compromise God's standards of righteousness.We can do that in part by desiring the improvement of society's moral standards and by approving of measures that would conform government more toward righteousness. We do grieve over the rampant indecency, vulgarity, lack of courtesy and respect for others, deceitfulness, self-indulgent materialism, and violence that is corroding society. But in our efforts to support what is good and wholesome, reject what is evil and corrupt, and make a profoundly positive impact on our culture, we must use God's methods and maintain scriptural priorities.”
Trust in God
Guard your heart against despair and discouragement. God is not dead. He sits enthroned and He is in absolute control of all the affairs of the earth. Rulers come and again but God remains constant and His reign is from everlasting to everlasting. Why are you downcast? Trust in God. Hope in the living, all powerful, loving and all wise king or kings.