All of us at one point in our life will be in a position where politics affects us. Now in this political season we most naturally think Presidential election and indeed the leader of the “free” world impacts our life. However I am speaking of a different political situation. Each of us can ignore Federal and State politics if he or she chooses — even though who leads our government can impact our life.
Instead, I am speaking about the politics found in the office, kids soccer team, universities, churches, or other entities where power, influence, decision making, and your life collide. Relationships are sticky. Add sin (lusts, competing desires, or envy) to the equation and thus the reason “reality” television is such a hit. Writers thrive off this kind of drama because we love to read about it and watch it curled up on the couch with popcorn! We love drama in other people’s life. We hang on to find out if the hero we love will win the day! “Drama” is often found in our politicized life — we’ve even heard people answer, “How was your day?” with “Drama”!
Drama in our own life is a curse. Most of us do not mind drama in other people’s life, but when we are the recipient of the politicking and do not get “what we want” our responses vary from anger to hurt feelings. It’s easy to look back at the drama and ask where could I have manipulated the situation differently? Where could I have made another move? Or we ask, “How can (insert person in authority here) make that decision?” “How come I’m not the winner here?” “Why does (insert adversary here) always get rewarded?”
Often our responses stem from our selfishness. I only think of my own results in the situation. I think about me . . . ME ME ME. I become the “Me Monster” Brian Regan warns us about.
Sometimes politics are the result of sin and innocent by-standers are treated unjustly. The power possessed person rolls over anyone to gain more power or prestige. A manager suppresses his employees and provides kick-backs to those who favor him. Relationships develop and one person is favored for friendship reasons not work performance. Where ever there are people this will happen.
So how do we deal with it? What do we say when we are on the “losing” end of politics? How do we respond when gain occurs as the result of injustice? What is the Lord’s involvement? How does He let evil win? How should we respond even when good people just get rewarded and our hard work is over looked?
First, We must be careful not to call god’s sovereignty “evil”. Before we get too carried away in the situation. It is easy to think “I deserved xyz.” Who walks around thinking I don’t deserve the reward and/or promotion? Some of us apply motives and schemes to those in power revealing our own presuppositions and not necessarily the other person’s true motives or actions. We therefore conclude the person making the decision or the situation is in fact evil and I am suffering for it. If only he/she saw it my way! In reality, evil may not be present, in the Lord’s plan, you were not picked! You are probably not in a position to know everything. Is it possible you do not have all the data? Human nature, my sinfulness, often makes me the center of my own world failing to realize I am not the center to those around me too (though I really want to be even if I won’t admit it!). We need to be humble enough to realize our and situation is about Christ, not us!
But in reality, God is sovereign. He is central. He controls the wind. He directs the wind and causes it to change directions. This decision did not happen outside of His will or plan. Even if it is evil, He knows it and He has a plan. If we are truly God’s child then we can rest assured no plan will thwart the promises given to us by Him!
Solomon writes, “No man has authority to restrain the wind with the wind, or authority over the day of death; and there is no discharge in the time of war, and evil will not deliver those who practice it” (Ecclesiastes 8:8). God has the authority and He knows the plan! It is our job to realize the situation occurred according to God’s sovereign plan and if evil is involved He will deal with it! We can rest in Him and leave the worry and fretting up to Him too.
Second, because we know God is sovereign and His plans proceed, we trust Him. We trust He has plans for our office, team, or church. He has plans for those we work with. He has plans for us. It may not involve our esteeming, promotion, or opinion. A lack of the aforementioned does not mean we’re in sin, but it is just what the Lord desired! Therefore, we proceed knowing God is in charge and our responsibilities are clearly known: faithfully execute my job!
Third, Regardless of what “upper management” does, the pastor, or co-workers, we have a job. My job is to do the job everyday the way I am instructed to do the job. Be faithful and walk with integrity in your job. Be diligent to work and serve the company. They hired you to do your job, do it, and do it well. Stay faithful regardless of what those around you do. “There is nothing better for a man to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good” (Ecc. 2:24; see also 5:18).
Fourth, Let our speech be encouraging (Eph 4:29). Gossip does not help anyone. Speaking and spreading rumors thus continuing the politicking style does no one good. It would be better for us to just remain silent. We do not desire to make someone else in the office, team, or church look bad. We seek to encourage those around us and make everyone look better. Each of us makes enough mistakes in life to not dwell on every mistake. They will happen. We graciously, lovingly keep moving and keep encouraging!
Finally, love no matter what! Love believes the best (1 Cor. 13:7). Believe the best about those around you. Unless you witness a crime and are called to act on the crime, then you believe the best about those around you. The idiot coach God put in charge of your child is really a great guy, working hard, to make the team better. He makes the best decisions he can and you’re thankful to be with him/her. You would have made the same decision he did if you had all the facts. (you also would make a mistake–it’s human nature!!) You do your job to make him look good, you believe the best, and no one on the team knows you sometimes stumble in your thoughts believing he is an idiot. Your speech is encouraging and helpful as you help him / her improve the company / team. You want to exalt him too because you want those around him (especially your child) to respect his position.
Politics will exist the rest of our life. We strive to hear, “Job well done good and faithful servant.” We cannot control what others do and how the Lord directs the wind. But we can be faithful to what the Lord puts before us. Therefore, let us strive to be faithful, focused, and walk with integrity trusting the Lord for the results!