Spoiler alert. I am not writing about politics.
I can't remember an election where emotions have run this high. And the flood of passion has swamped the pundits. That sometimes carried people where they never should go.
I must confess I've always enjoyed following politics. But this year, I'm hitting the brakes a little because there are some dangerous pitfalls in a high-voltage election. A follower of Jesus has a responsibility to "render to Caesar" and to "seek the welfare of the city" by being an informed voter. But, also, to avoid the hurtful pitfalls.
1. Unbalanced passion
As a follower of Jesus, I'm called to keep Him the central passion of my heart. But without knowing, I can let passion for a political cause or candidate dampen my fire for Jesus.
Thus defying the "Great Commandment" to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30). When I let political frustration or fire make me act less like Jesus, I've lost my way.
2. Unrealistic hope
"They always let us down." That's a mantra you hear again and again about leaders we elect. They promise so much and often deliver much less.
That's because there's only one Messiah. And He's not running for office. This year or any year. He's already King of kings. No contest.
Yes, politicians should not overpromise. Yes, they should be honest about the reasons they end up breaking their promise. But, yes, we should not expect any human to be the one who fixes everything. That can only be the all-powerful, all-loving Messiah Jesus. "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19).
3. Unrighteous anger
We can't let the heat of our political passions become a fire that burns people around us. Sadly, that's happening this year. Politics coming between friends, family members, even brothers and sisters in Christ. Clearly disregarding God's blueprint for our relationships: "Don't sin by letting your anger control you...make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace" (Ephesians 4:26, 3).
4. Undermining baggage
I'll bet Jesus is wishing some of us would be as passionate about getting people to heaven as we are about getting some candidate to the White House. Because eternities matter so much more than elections. The Apostle Paul had it right: "We would rather put up with anything than be an obstacle to the Good News about Christ" (1 Corinthians 9:12). No baggage with the Gospel. I'll keep my mouth shut about politics so they'll listen with an open heart when I talk about Jesus.
5. Unclaimed peace
So much seems up for grabs in this turbulent year and these troubled times. One thing isn't. The Main Thing. "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord is on His heavenly throne" (Psalm 11:3-4). If my hopes are anywhere else, I'll miss the peace of living in that unshakeable security.
My Father in heaven is still in charge. He is sovereign over the affairs of men, and "it is God alone who judges; He decides who will rise and who will fall" (Psalm 75:7).
So before I watch the news - and after - I think I'll keep saying those three game-changing words out loud.
"Jesus is Lord."