The (Obviously) Christian Political Party
Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. Luke 20:25
Growing up, I just knew that all Christians belonged to the same political party to which my parents belonged. I knew that no one in the other political party could really follow Christ. One side was synonymous with Christian and right while the other was synonymous with non-Christian and wrong.
As an adult then, I read a book in which the author described the exact opposite experience. It was the first time I realized that there were Christians who thought that anyone in my political party was very non-Christian. This author grew up understanding that God was on his side and that the other party – my party – consisted only of greedy hypocrites.
Prior to my drug addiction, I was much more likely to make sweeping statements like this. I knew the truth and used it to judge others. Never mind that my own personal life was a disaster. I believed in right and wrong and though I wasn’t living it, I believed I was better than those who didn’t know it. This kind of false confidence gave me cause to blend faith with politics, eventually leading me to defend anyone in my own political party as though it was my religion. No one on my side could be wrong and no one on the other side could be right.
In today’s passage, Jesus was approached by the religious elite who asked him if it was right to pay taxes to the Romans. Jesus asked for a coin to see whose face was on it. The image was Caesar’s and so Jesus commanded them to give to Caesar what was Caesar’s and to give to God what was God’s.
The lesson for me, is that my faith and allegiance belongs to God alone. I can and should vote and I may even be politically active, but men are fallible and cannot bear the burden of my faith. My faith is in God and my cause is Christ. Whenever I equate my brand of politics with religion, I’m giving to my political party what should be reserved for God. If my support of any one person means that I justify anything they do, then I’ve elevated that individual to a position of a god. If my commitment to this individual drives those around me away from Christ, I need to reexamine my commitment to Christ.
I want to follow God. I desire to draw others to faith, life, and recovery. Politics doesn’t help me do this, so my commitment to my faith must come before my commitment to a political party. When I get this backwards, I’ve made a religion of my politics and gods of my politicians.