As we approach the 2022 midterms, I’ve heard many Christians say, “I try to stay out of politics,” or “Politics can be so dirty, so I avoid it.” These remarks are often rooted in the false notion that political engagement is an unfit calling for anyone authentically Christian because politics is inherently corrupt.
For those of us who are discouraged by the overall negative tone and atmosphere of the political arena, avoiding it might be a tempting choice. However, it’s not a perspective that Christians with a biblical worldview should adopt.
America continues to decline in Christian values and moral integrity. The faith community can no longer afford to sit back and abdicate its role in government and politics. Here are 3 biblically-based reasons Christians should reevaluate their aversion to politics:
It’s a matter of obedience
What if we’re faced with so many problems in our society because the people of faith who have been called to serve in government have been disobedient? What if they have ignored the call on their lives due to fear or other reasons, and what we see around us is the fruit of that decision?
In John 8:31, Jesus made it clear that those who are obedient are His disciples. If you are truly a Christian, you strive to be obedient and to know and follow the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. What if obedience to God is serving in politics?
With recent worldwide events, it has been said that we’re living in an age of “existential fear.” But fear is the absence of faith. Many Christians are afraid of going into politics because they fear becoming corrupt. Although this is a healthy fear, we as Christians are not encouraged to shy away from other professions that have the potential for corruption or danger. So why avoid the political arena? And, as in all things we do, are we not called to walk by faith?
Psalm 91 is a treasured Bible passage to many. But let’s look at something you may not have noticed in verses 1–3: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.”
If you’re like me, you’ve probably read this passage a hundred times and never paid much attention to that word, but do you know that the word pestilence has a broader definition than just meaning plagues or disease? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, one definition is, “that which is morally pestilent or pernicious; moral plague or mischief, evil conduct, wickedness; that which is fatal to the public peace or well-being.”
If we will only trust Him, God is capable of saving us not only from deadly diseases but from those things that are morally corrupting as well.
If our nation prospers, we prosper, too
In Mark 12:31, Jesus as says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Philippians 2:3-4 tells us, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Jeremiah 29:7 is where Jeremiah tells the exiles in Babylon, “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
If we disobey this command, the city suffers. We know we are to pray, but we also should seek the city’s welfare. That’s the call to cultural engagement. Whether we’re trying to feed the poor or serve in government, we’re commanded to love our neighbor and seek the welfare of the city. How can we seek its welfare if we are not involved with the governmental processes which determine that welfare? If we’re called to serve in this way and ignore that call, could it be that the fruit of that disobedience is what we’re seeing run rampant throughout our world?
We’re uniquely equipped
Christians are desperately needed in politics because if they’re true, authentic Christians, they are people of integrity. They’re called to a higher standard than unbelievers, and they answer to someone other than just the voters.
Matthew 5:13-16 reveals that true Christians are salt and light. The light shines best when it’s dark! We’re not perfect, but we know who we are and whose we are, and that’s what makes us different. A true Christian is a follower of Christ. We’re obedient to God’s Word and sensitive to the Holy Spirit. We’re led by the Spirit of God. If someone is truly following God and walking in obedience, that person will naturally have a higher level of integrity. If there’s any area in which we need more people of integrity to serve, it’s politics.
We all know that politics can be dangerous for the soul. The temptations, pressures, and scrutiny can be enormous. But if you’re called into that arena, God will equip you to withstand all those things. So perhaps our nation, states, cities, counties, and school boards look as they do because we have allowed others to take the role we are supposed to have — a role that God has uniquely equipped us for over anyone else. By abdicating that role, perhaps we have allowed someone else, who is not equipped, to take it instead.
In Exodus 3:11, Moses questioned God's call on his life: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” But God gives him what he needs to do the job He has asked him to do. How else will we get godly officials and leaders unless godly people run for office? Are we so lacking in faith that we believe God cannot handle the things that come up in politics?
If Daniel can be protected in the lion’s den, David can defeat Goliath, and God can split the Red Sea for the same Moses who doubted himself, what can He do for you if you will merely step out in faith and trust Him?
There is no time like the present for Christians to get involved in the political process. With God on our side, we can use our gifts and talents to make a difference in our government and create a better place for the next generation.
Terri Hasdorff is a former congressional candidate and executive-level leader with more than 20 years of experience in fundraising, government, and politics. Hasdorff is the author of “Running Into the Fire: Why More Christians Need to Be Involved in Politics,” released in September 2022. Packed with perspective, the book shares how people of faith can effectively influence government and push back against the liberal socialist agenda.