In light of the first presidential debate last night, now is a good time to address one of my favorite political debate topics:
Would Jesus be a Republican or a Democrat?
If you are at all spiritually and politically inclined, you certainly have heard this question and have likely noticed that BOTH sides tend to claim Jesus for their own. I’ve heard all of the arguments and, to me, the answer is clear.
Jesus would not bother to vote!
Now, that is not a commentary on the worthiness of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton … it’s just that Jesus was decidedly apolitical. He was not interested in human affairs, he was concerned only with spirituality!
As he said in Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Blessed are those who are persecuted, Jesus said, as long as they are being righteous! In other words, it is a “good” thing to go through adversity provided you have spiritual intent. Y’know, just like Jesus dying on the cross was a “good” thing because it was a spiritual act. Christ is not the savior of our physical health or finances; Christ is the savior of our souls.
RIGHTNESS is something politicians are concerned with in their attempt to eliminate adversity, while RIGHTEOUSNESS is an endeavor for the soul, which can thrive amid adversity. You may argue with someone about whether tax cuts or tax increases are beneficial for the masses, or you can be pro-war or anti-war, but those are discussions over what is RIGHT. (It’s so easy to spin human affairs to the political right or the left, if you are willing to try.)
But there is no doubt that RIGHTEOUSNESS is unassailable. Who would argue against virtues such as compassion, forgiveness and wisdom? All are spiritual features … and can be expressed differently.
Therein lies the rub.
What’s compassion? Giving a hungry man a fish or teaching him how to fish?
What’s forgiveness? Letting a man out of jail or letting suffering out of your heart?
What’s wisdom? Knowing what to do in the flesh or knowing what to do in the spirit?
In John 7:24, Jesus addressed this directly: “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
“Mere appearances” is when you THINK you know what is in another person’s heart based upon what it SEEMS TO BE on the surface. But you cannot know another person’s intent.
Consider Matthew 16:23. After Peter resisted the idea that he was going to be crucified, Jesus responded to him by saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
First of all, was Jesus being MEAN there? Of course not. He was 100 percent focused on the task at hand and was trying to get Peter to truly see only spirit. And yet, if you saw him calling his right-hand man SATAN you might assume he was not being very nice.
Same with Matthew 7:22-23, “On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.'”
Again, like flipping over the tables in the temples, Jesus sounded a little cranky there. But don’t judge by mere appearances, judge correctly!
A correct judgment is when one puts his mind on things of God and NOT on the things of man. Ergo, Jesus would not be political, as politicians are focused on the affairs of man. God’s laws are spiritual laws and can be expressed in a variety of ways. Can you be compassionate, forgiving and wise on both sides of the political aisle? Of course. Can both Trump and Hillary supporters be followers of God’s laws? Absolutely.
We are all God’s children, but that does NOT mean as physical beings. We are spiritual beings having a physical experience. God does not “see” race, gender, religion, age or sexual orientation. He does not care about money. He does not care who wins the Super Bowl (though he clearly favors the Steelers more than the other teams).
God only sees SPIRIT. Being a “child of God” is a reference to your SOUL, not your body. If you think God would choose a side in our presidential election, I will refer you back to Matthew 16:23.
“You are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
In order for us to heal from all of our societal problems, UNITY is the only answer, and UNITY will only be found in spirituality, not politics. Americans tend to believe that to practice yoga means to be physically flexible, but the actual purpose of yoga is for flexibility of the mind. Indeed, in Sanskrit the definition of yoga is “to unite.”
Your soul needs to be able to touch its toes, not your body. Be flexible in your head. A true spiritual person would try to UNITE the left and the right in their own minds and hearts. That’s correct judgment.
In the oft-quoted Mark 12:17, Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” That was NOT a political statement, that was a logical statement. While you have a body, you should pay attention to physical things like stopping at red lights and paying taxes when required. But while doing so, obey God’s laws. Be compassionate, forgiving and wise.
Here’s a wonderful challenge by author F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
First-rate intelligence? That’s being at peace with BOTH Trump and Hillary.
Jesus certainly would be. Of course, he was focused on God’s laws, not on man’s laws. He was judging correctly … not by mere appearances.