The upcoming general election has seriously done my head in over recent days!
Historically I have always voted as you’d expect a boy from the Welsh valleys to vote – red! However, as this current election campaign has rolled on I’ve found myself increasingly disillusioned by much of what each of the parties have to offer. I’m tired of all the spin and sick of hearing politicians bad-mouthing each other. But I think what has affected me most deeply as I’ve watched debates and flicked through manifestos is the unavoidable, inescapable reality that we are not merely a non-Christian country…we are fast becoming an anti-Christian country!
i) The role of politicians is to represent the people they serve.
I dunno exactly what percentage of the UK would be Christ following, Bible-believing Christians, but it’s probably somewhere between 1% and 5% of the population. Let’s be optimistic and go for 5%. Basic mathematics tells me that 95% of the UK don’t follow Jesus and are not led by the teaching of Scripture. I also dunno how many of our MPs are Christians, but it’s probably a similar percentage. Therefore, why in the world should we be surprised that so much recent legislation and political decision making is at odds with a gospel worldview?! While 95% of our nation shakes a fist in God’s face and opts instead for a society that is free from the ‘shackles’ of antiquated religion, I think it’s fair to say that our politicians are doing a great job of representing the people they serve!
ii) The role of the church is to offer salvation to the people.
God’s people have always had a mandate to be part of transforming the lives of those around them. Israel was established to be a blessing to the pagan nations that surrounded her, which they generally sucked at! One of my favourite passages in Scripture is Ezekiel 36 where God promises to cleanse and restore His rebellious people.
Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the Lord (v36)
Similarly, when Jesus gathered His disciples around Him to teach them on a mountainside, He gave them this charge:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5 v 14-16)
Furthermore, Paul encouraged the Philippians with these words:
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Philippians 2 v 14-16)
These verses in Philippians are especially poignant at a time when there is such disillusionment with politics and politicians. Imagine if one of the things that set God’s people…including me…apart from the 95% right now was that we chose to stop grumbling and start shining. To live, love, serve and speak as those empowered and impassioned by the gospel that is still the power of God for the salvation of all who believe!
iii) The politics will change when the people change
So if the role of politicians is to represent the people they serve. And the current political direction of our country is uncomfortable and undesirable for the 5% then PRAISE GOD because with the gospel in our hands and on our lips we have the power to see serious, seismic change because the gospel changes people and people change politics!
I love the story of Jonah the runaway revivalist. When he eventually rocked up to Nineveh, he didn’t tell the people that change could only come by rising up and dethroning the king who ruled over them. Instead he preached an 8 word gospel nugget to the men and women on the streets who responded in repentant faith, and such was the scale of the transformation on the street-level that word soon reached the king, who in turn brought in sweeping new laws that honoured God! (Jonah 3 v 6-9)
In conclusion then, let’s not allow the dire social mess and bleak political landscape that confronts us to steal our joy or rob us of hope. Rather, let’s see it as a divine moment to rise up as the people that God has commissioned and conditioned us to be. Let’s stop grumbling. Let’s start shining. Let’s step out with a fresh urgency to be on mission with Jesus to seek and save the lost.
Let’s see what God can do with five faithful percent who are on fire for Him!
And by God’s grace, let that change start with me!