OK, so the other day I wrote about speaking from outside the system, the unique posture that Christians can have when they refuse to align themselves with political parties or candidates and merely speak on behalf of the Kingdom of God.
If you think about it, that’s quite a responsibility. As ambassadors of God, we have to choose our words carefully (something that I’m admittedly bad at). We also need to choose our subjects carefully. What sort of things do we speak out about?
Part of that depends on who our audience is. Our speech differs when addressing believers, that is, people who present themselves as trying to follow God. John the Baptist challenged Herod on his improper marriage, yet we have no record of Christians challenging the Roman authorities on similar issues. Herod presented himself as a Jew. Paul did speak to Felix about such things, though it was in private meetings.
Believers are held to a higher standard, at all levels of the political process. Both elected officials and voters are to hold to biblical principles at all times. This is especially true as regards their personal lives and behavior.
But what about politicians and government in general? What helps us decide when to speak out and when to let the “dead bury the dead” (let the world deal with problems of this world)?
I say that we are to speak in favor of values that reflect the nature of God. An emphasis on principles like truth and life. A defense of justice, particularly towards the weakest of society: widows, orphans, foreigners and the poor.
I think we need to immerse ourselves in the prophets, learning from men like Isaiah, Amos and Malachi about the things that God wants addressed. Our situation won’t be the same, yet we can learn the principles that matter to God, like mercy and justice. From God’s messages to foreign nations, we can learn about what standards even non-believers are expected to live up to.
We can’t expect political platforms to set the proper agenda for our speech. Whether or not an issue will impact an election does not determine our choice to address it. We must step outside the process and stand for values that transcend parties and elections, speaking eternal truths to a world focused on temporal problems.
Those are some initial thoughts. What are your suggestions? How do we speak out, not as Americans nor Democrats/Republicans, but as Christians?