What is the Christian’s role in this politically polarized time? Dr. Scott Redd reminds us of what it means to speak the truth in love and addresses what the Scriptures say about political engagement.
We live in a time of increasing political polarization, and I think Christians play a special role in this time of conflict. As a matter of fact, if we look at the teaching of scripture, we find a variety of diverse prophets sent into the people of God to proclaim truths in time of great polarization and conflict. That’s a part of the ministry in the proclamation of the whole counsel of God is that we are to speak the truth even when it’s inconvenient, even when it’s unpopular, and even when it goes against some of our deeply held preferences.
With that said, we need to recognize that we are both fallen and we are finite. In other words, because of our sin we will be limited in our ability to rightly understand the situation. So, we always have to be open to revision that we wrongly or even sinfully had a blind spot in some opinion that we held and therefore we need to be challenged—maybe rebuked—by fellow Christians about this issue that we are speaking so confidently.Part of the ministry in the proclamation of the whole counsel of God is that we are to speak the truth.
We’re not only fallen, we’re also finite. We’re limited. We have limited perspectives, and we need to understand that our perspective may not take into consideration some very important truths that are obvious from a different perspective. So, whenever we’re speaking into a politically polarized situation, we need to do so boldly and firmly recognizing that we have the word of God.
While the grass withers, we do know the word of God stands forever. Yet, as we’re applying it we need to recognize that our application of scripture into the world around us might be hindered by our own sinfulness, and it might be undermined by our own limitedness, our fallenness, and our finitude.
I think, particularly in today’s discourse around political opinions and political polarization, there is a tendency to not be concerned with the sin of slander or bearing false witness. We need to remember that this is the 9th commandment. This is something that God thought so significant he would put it in his distillation of the law which is the Ten Commandments: we should not be bearing false witness against those whom we oppose. That means when you say something about someone who holds an opinion different from yours, and it’s untrue, you openly and you publicly repent. When you speak harsh words about someone who you are in opposition to, you’re mindful that if you are speaking a falsehood, then you are committing slander, and that slander is not just against your neighbor, it is against the Lord.
I think, particularly in areas of social media, Christians would do well to remember the injunction against slander and bearing false witness. That’s something that I think we’ve become all too loose with and all too lacking in our concern.