“Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.”
This insight from G.K. Chesterton helps us to understand as Christians how we can reconcile our service to God with our service to country. It’s exemplified in our great commandment, to love our God and to love our neighbour.
How can our love for and confidence in Christ motivate our love of neighbour and service to our country, particularly in a political context? Here are some ideas:
- Reach across divides
We are divided along all kinds of issues, identities and backgrounds, but it’s the person of Jesus who transcends them all. You can reject the idea that who you are requires you to consider others as your enemy. Our countries need this.
Our countries depend on the contributions of those who serve not for acclaim, but out of love and sacrifice of time, money and other resources. Out of your love of God, advocate for a cause – and not just on social media, but in real life too! – serve with a local ministry or non-profit, mentor someone younger than yourself.
- Live out your faith
Increasingly, Americans don’t understand what it means to be religious. The same may be true in the UK. You don’t have to be annoying about it, but think about how the public life you lead displays what Christ is doing in your life, and let his love shine through in the way you act and treat others.
We need a new generation of Christians who have believe a vote can be motivated by love, not just self-interest. Imagine what this understanding would do for our politics and our nation.
Prayer is powerful, and it’s not just for our personal lives, but in the life of our nation. Pray for its leaders, pray that God might intervene in the injustices and evils that you see, and always have your eyes open with expectation that you will see God move.
Read more about this, and other lessons learnt during his time at the White House, in Michael’s forthcoming book, Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America.