There is on obsessive element to politics. Many are enthralled by it and devour whatever information they can as they follow even the most minor aspects. Analyzing every detail, some seek to predict outcomes and performances, while others evaluate the details of the past decisions and politicians in order to evaluate their genuine effectiveness. Many look upon politicians like they would local folk-lore legends: as men and women who bring some sort of salvation to people.
While never arriving to the same level as some, there was a time in which I followed the political realm in more detail than I do now. The change to follow politics less was not one of noble ambition, but was more the result of a lac of time than anything else. And while I personally invest less time into following the political movements of my nation, I do keep updated at a level that keeps me able to engage with others in positive discussion and in such a way that allows me to make observations and interpretations from a Christian worldview. Therefore, I’ve watched with interest as people all over the world have intensely engaged with the political process to the point that few (if any) are left without an opinion of what is taking place in the States. As I reflect upon what has taken place I see a foundation of bias that generated false news, false motives, and false analyses. Such a bias is cultivated by people’s desire to have politics save them from the ‘evil’ of this world. People utilize presentation to initiate change from the political dimension hoping that it will be their savior.
For myself, one of the recognitions I have come to is that no matter how much people want to predict outcomes, they are not always predictable. Furthermore, no matter how much people want things to change, they remain the same and no matter how much they want certain things to remain the same, they change. Our political system goes through cycles in which a certain ideology will reign for a few years, followed by another, and then perhaps a return to the first. The result is that yes, changes take place over time, but rarely does it happen through politics alone, because truthfully, we usually just repeat the same processes over and over. In that regard, there is no salvation to be found in the political system.
However, people continue to rely more heavily upon politics and the political system as their source of deliverance and redemption. Yet there are some common observations should be made here:
- We can’t know it all: As much as many like to think complete knowledge is possible, it’s not. Not only are they limited in the worldwide realm to what God reveals, but at a micro level into politics, they are limited by what others are willing to reveal, which is then subject to interpretations which can be skewed as well.
- We can’t control it all: Some often think if we can accomplish one thing, that will have a larger impact. In this moment our government is debating the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice, and many have the expectation that if they can control whether or not this person gets in, then they can also control future outcomes. Yet, control is once again limited and insufficient, usually because it is based upon selfish desires and motivations.
- We can’t save it all: Finally, people seek to use politics as a way to save whatever cause they are backing. People, animals, the environment, yet the influence of politics is limited by people’s willingness to accept it.
The conclusion to be reached here? There is no hope in politics because it is instigated by people.
If there is one thing about the political process, it confirms what God has said through His word about people. Tainted by sin, all that people oversee is also tainted by sin. To place one’s faith and hope in politics, something that is the case not just for the secular world but also a danger for Christians, will result in nothing less than disappointment. Unless there is a God who sovereignly reigns politics provides no hope for people. So how can politics save? It can’t. The only thing it can do is cause us to make observations about a flawed system and a flawed people that cause us to then consider the role of God. And through God salvation can be found. Politics is simply a tool of God in affecting the lives of His people and until God is recognized as sovereign, and not a people-flawed system, politics can do nothing for people. Therefore, let us pray that people recognize futility in politics and as a result turn to the fruitfulness in God in order to be saved.
Photo “On the Hill” courtesy of user Eric B. Walker and Flickr.