How to respond to uncertainty?

The past few years have left the country divided, but we can all do something, urges Dave Newton in an article written before the coronavirus pandemic.

Love your neighbour more than your own voice

It is easy in the heat of debate to think it is important for our opinion or point to be heard. We can argue a point in detail, sometimes beyond the appropriate decibels to make sure we are heard. However passionate we are, however, convinced we are, it is vital to remember our words have an impact and can cause damage (James 3:4-7).

Ahead of winning an argument, we have been called to love our neighbours (Mark 12:31). If we are not careful we can be carried away with our own opinion, firing darts that hinder or even hurt our neighbour.

Pray for our leaders

It is clear from Scripture that we have a responsibility to pray for and respect those in authority. As Christians, it may be true that we have an ultimate higher authority. However, this does not mean that we are not under the authority of those who have been appointed to rule (Romans 13:1-7).

Pray for Christian leaders, pray for leaders carrying alternative world views, pray for wisdom and moral responsibility, self-interest won’t dominate the corridors of power. Above all pray something! Remember: prayer changes things.

All parties are in your church

It is easy to confuse our personal political persuasion for kingdom values and godliness. We must remember that the Church of Jesus Christ is alive and well in all political landscapes from dictators through to democracy, and from left to right. Let’s not allow our national pride or partisan opinion stand in front of our relationships with other brothers and sisters in Christ.

Mistakes on all sides

At the start of the millennium, it might have been argued that it was difficult to separate the policies and opinions of the major national parties as all competed for the central ground. That is certainly not true in 2020, with parties holding polar opposite views on many key areas of social care, economics and justice, without even mentioning the dreaded ‘B’ word.

It is essential, however, to remember that no party is perfect, no political ideology holds all the answers; remember that there are mistakes on all sides.

Be confident, play your part

There is a danger for those who are not naturally politically minded to adopt one of two positions. Firstly, a position of fear; we can be constantly anxious about the next great political hurdle, paralysed into thinking that the latest challenge is the greatest challenge our nation has ever faced and so we are filled with fear. It is important not to underestimate the challenge our nation faces.

However, Paul reminds younger Timothy that as Christ-followers we have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). Secondly, we can disengage; being so overwhelmed with complex issues we struggle to understand that we withdraw and take a passive approach. Be confident that your view matters and that you can play your part by voting and praying for key issues that God has challenged you on.

Called to represent a different kingdom

Remember, as the Church of Jesus Christ – God’s prophetic people – we have been invited to represent a new kingdom, one that loves our enemies, welcomes strangers, keeps our promises, values relationship and calls for us to be change-agents in our communities.

We are called to give to the needy, not judge others, not be over-reliant on earthly things, and remain fully dependent on God (Matthew 5-7). Jesus offers a kingdom manifesto that is a rallying cry to all Christians. Ultimately, we must remember that Jesus is King and we represent a different kingdom here on earth.

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