Politics and Faith
It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. Galatians 6:12-13
Even in the worst of my addiction, I still found it possible to be judgmental of others. I was engaged in corrupt behavior myself, but if I could turn my focus towards the failures of others, then I felt better about myself. I wasn’t following God personally, but I picked out corrupt behaviors with which I didn’t struggle and looked down on those who did. It was the worst kind of hypocrisy because I claimed to be a Christian, using my faith as a weapon to castigate others, while I was drowning in my own toxic, self-destructive sin.
This is tempting for us as Christians, and it apparently isn’t new. In today’s passage, Paul addressed those Christians who would make other new converts follow certain ceremonial laws (circumcision in this case) while they didn’t really follow God. They were already circumcised, so they considered themselves pure. They made an outward show of faith, but they did so only to look good. They didn’t really obey God’s will. They just followed themselves, simply putting on a spectacle, part of which, meant telling others how to live.
We often do this with politics. I’m not saying that Christians shouldn’t be politically active. Christians can and should be involved in shaping our culture and laws. However, politics is often a convenient way to convince ourselves were doing God’s will, when we’re simply judging others while still living according to our own will. If we can convince ourselves that we believe the right things and that the other side is wrong, then it really doesn’t matter how we live personally, as long as we believe and vote right.
In this condition, I can be selfish, greedy, prideful, angry, lustful, gluttonous, and hateful, but as long as I’m not (fill in the blank), and as long as I condemn those who are, then I must be living the good Christian life.
Following Christ isn’t about focusing on the failures of others to make ourselves feel better. Following Christ is about investing in a relationship with him and obeying his will. If being a Christian doesn’t cause us to abandon our way to love God and serve our neighbors, then we’re doing it wrong.