Politics, Religion, and Honesty
Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? . . . The law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. Habakkuk 1:3-4
I rarely write of politics. It’s just not what I do. If I had to write a blog 15 years ago though, I’d probably have spent a fair amount of time mixing my religious and political beliefs. It would have been a convenient way to convince myself I was spreading God’s truth, pointing out the corruption of others, while failing miserably with addiction in my own life.
This, I think, is tempting for anyone involved in politics or religion. Belonging to a community of others going in the same direction can be a good thing, but in doing so, it’s always tempting to see the world as us versus the enemy. When we are the good guys, doing God’s work, we can dismiss our own mess. In doing so, we may even come to tolerate or defend blatant sin in someone, just because he claims to be on our side.
Prophets however, don’t feel compelled to act this way. Habakkuk, called by God to address the sin amongst his own people, was one such person. Living in a time of blatant corruption, God’s law could not be depended on, as the Israelites simply ignored it. They claimed to be God’s people, while living for themselves, and Habakkuk condemned them for it.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t be involved in politics and I’m not saying God doesn’t ask some to address corruption outside their church or political party. I am saying though, that if one is going to do so, he (or she) must be willing to also address the toxic behavior amongst his own. Furthermore, he must be honest enough to address his own personal struggles as well.
Just as it would have been gross hypocrisy for me to write a blog condemning the beliefs of others, while failing in my own addiction, it is profoundly hypocritical for us to point out the corruption of the world around us, while we live only for ourselves, refusing to obey God or to love our neighbors. If we truly want to follow God, like Habakkuk, we must be honest enough to address our own failures.