Pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Church once said that the spirit of politics is a spirit of division (or something along that line). The truth is today there is a huge political divide that is consistently separating people and homes. The difference in ideology and choice of candidate (pre and post-election) has kind of created enmity in the world. Some of these divisions may seem legitimate like supporting a (seemly) oppressive leader (President or any other title he/she holds), and the opposition cannot simply understand why a sane person would go with such a choice. This creates a division, which leads to constant arguments, and it breeds anger and contempt, which matures into *tada!* HATE.
I believe the Lord put this in my heart as I was discussing with Ace recently. We are on opposite political spectrums, and our dear nation – Nigeria – is currently in a recession, so we obviously had opposite views of the situation. Although, we agreed that times were tough, the cause was a whole other ball game. We spoke at length about this, going back and forth on who was responsible for what ill affecting our dear home (Nigeria).
There was a slightly raised voice (by Ace), but surprisingly we never let it get beyond that. We kept it civil – which is an act of God, going by our track record. Ace was adamant, I was stubborn … each sticking with his point. There were brief periods of compromise, where we made attempts to understand one another’s points of view. It was sort of working, and if we had ended it there, then we wouldn’t have resolved any issue, nor gain anything substantial other than having a ‘good’ time with my best friend.
As we were about to end our argument, which felt like an open wound that would stir up ‘stuff’ at a later date, the Lord did something wonderful. He implanted a few words in my heart. These words had a central theme – LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR.
Love your Neighbour may sound easy to a child, but to an adult who has a grasp of the meaning of ‘Neighbour’, it is a different ball game. Questions like – Should I love Hitler? Should I love Osama Bin Laden? Should I love whoever leads ISIS these days? or Do I love President Buhari? Do I love President Trump? – come up. It is when queries like these come up that you hear men begin to ‘technicalise’ the word of God.
For me, Love Your Neighbour, simply means … Love Everybody. The end.
Then, the explanation began. The moment we begin to consistently view our leaders in a bad light (and some of them make it so easy), we are on a slippery slope towards hate. This is because when we see an individual/leader as an embodiment of all that is terrible in life, then we cannot help but not love him. Instead, we dislike, and not long afterwards, we hate.
The devil is a master trickster, who has been on earth longer than any living man. He has orchestrated a means where Christians willfully hate their fellow man without realising that it is sinful. By wishing death on a man we see as an opposition, we become murderers by our thinking and that’s not loving.
So what did we settle on … well, don’t hate politicians. Hating their policies is fair game though, but be careful to not focus on it too much for it will easily transfer to its (policy) sponsor. Another remedy might be to focus on the good that might be associated with said leader. It could serve as a beacon of hope that he is still God’s creation, whom He craves salvation for.
On this note, our band-aid was no longer relevant, as the wound had disappeared. Praise the Lord!
God bless you.