There has been a lot of publicity in the last couple of weeks about one of the presidential candidates off color and degrading comments about women. He has tried to justify it as “locker room talk”. Unfortunately it is not that easy to push aside. For all their lack of practice, Christian values are still called upon by public officials. Both candidates profess their Christian faith. We should be able to expect Christian values to govern their lives. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”(4:19) Lewd comments, even off handed and off the record, should not be a part of one who professes Christ. Jesus went even further saying, “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come–sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.”(Mark 7:20-22) Course speech, lies, deception, justifications, and excuses have marked this election cycle more than any in recent memory. I have no advice, and I support no candidate, but, as Christians, we must be guided by the values of our faith, and seek to uphold those things that bring honor to our Lord.
I am not a political person, but I do observe what is going on. The current group of presidential candidates is like a feeding frenzy, each trying to be the first at the voters trough. The problem is that our current system does not choose the best candidates. The ones that come out on top are the ones that appeal to our emotions. We know certain things are wrong, and the ones who shout the loudest about how they are going to fix it get the vote. Or perhaps it’s the ones who promise to give us the most goodies that we think we are entitled to. Either way, they are shallow and misguided candidates. It is why I’ve written so much here about biblical values, and upholding the absolute truths of our Lord. It is these that must guide all of our choices. But even here, as far as the political process is concerned, if we choose a candidate we believe uphold right values, they soon get snowed under by the existing political structure. This is why I say our system does not give us the best people, and I don’t have an alternative to offer. Even in light of all this, I am not hopeless. I simply put no faith in the government, but all faith in our Lord who is above all governments, and who can direct even the most pagan of leaders. We are called to a sincere work of prayer.
How easy it is to be manipulated by emotions. It is what we are watching in the current election cycle. Political candidates rail against illegal immigration, higher taxes, problems with social security and medical care. Vilifying other candidates is also good for a vote or two. The problem with emotional responses is that the tend to block clear thinking, and working out the rational and hard solutions to problems that may require sacrifices. Look at the current fiasco in Greece. Emotions are fine. God gave them to us, and they have their place, but they are not to direct the course of life. Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”(2:3-4) Emotional responses are concerned with what is good for me, and for my group. It narrows our focus to what we think is good, but denies the possibility of making hard choices that may require suffering, but in the long run bring real good for all. Read the rest of the Philippian passage, vss.5-8, and consider where we would be if Jesus had acted on emotion rather than the truth of God’s purpose for mankind. “Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”(I Peter 4:7) Maybe there are some lessons in here as we listen to the current rhetoric.