How not to allow elections cause you to live differently from your values

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Deolu Akinyemi

The year was 2019, and I was at Harvard for a short course. I booked an Airbnb and was hosted by a Dutch guy married to a Kenyan woman. In the course of my stay, my host was fairly friendly, so we had a few friendly conversations and even took out some time to eat out together.  It was in one of those conversations that I realized that my patriotism created some sort of divisive tendencies. He asked why I was so concerned about my people and not concerned about him. Somehow my energy of a reason why my nation needed to rise out of the cloud of corruption and insensitivity to the plight of the poor gave the vibe that I didn’t really care about anyone else outside my nation. This would not have been a problem except that my Christian values meant I needed to love everyone.

These days I am wondering, genuinely wondering. Are we meant to love people? Do we need to pray for everyone irrespective of their tribe, religion, or sectional sentiments? Is God still interested in all men being saved and being brought to the knowledge of the truth? Suppose the answers to these questions are in the affirmative. In that case, it’s either something has gone seriously wrong, or the cries that attempt to use religion, tribe, and sectional sentiments to divide us are not from people who were once sinners and were only saved by God’s mercy and grace.

Some people are quick to retort that some people are killing Christians, was Saul who became Paul, not killing Christians. If Stephen had the perspective of current-day Pastors or believers, would Paul be saved? Stephen prayed, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” This act of love was Apostle Paul’s saving grace; as Augustine said, “If Stephen had not prayed, the Church would not have had Paul!” Paul himself testified to this reality in Acts 22:20. Our love for others, evidenced by our prayer, speeches, and conduct, prepares them for God’s saving grace. Even if they kill us, our training is not to curse and retaliate, but maybe this generation will be measured by different standards.

Do Christians need to be involved in Governance, Nation Building, or Politics?

YES!!! Is my resounding answer, and with proof in scriptures.

Why?

This is where I differ from many of the preachers I have heard from who seem to preach messages that use religion as a basis for making decisions about who should lead us or who should not.

I believe the reason true faith-driven believers need to be in governance or political office is that it’s a higher platform to shine their light (Matt 5:13-16). Our light is our witness of Jesus, our good deeds of service in our community, and our creating a level playing ground of justice and prosperity for the poor. If we are not people actively bearing witness with our life and words about the message of Christ, there is nothing more we will do with the top of the mountains. There are two ways in which this can happen; it can happen because someone who is already in power encounters Jesus through our witness, or someone who already encountered Jesus wins popular votes and wins an election.

Why the fixation with Presidency, and why every four years?

My concern really is when Christians become so filled with hate. When did we stop desiring the salvation of political leaders? Why are we so myopic? Why is it that one event – elections, is where all our energies are at their highest? I am worried that the Church that is visible is not the Church of faith-driven, love-fruit-manifesting Christians but those bent on promoting religion.

I believe the Church should be involved, but our involvement is deeper than all this rhetoric. Our patterns – Daniel and Joseph were involved based on the excellence of their God-given revelations, not their religion. In my view, we don’t have anyone who is an active witness for Jesus on our ballot boxes for the Presidency. We need to trust God beyond elections.

Why our fixation on one seat and four years to participate in a process that requires proactive daily energy and 543 seats? We spent so much energy very reactively when we could do a lot more preparing our disciples to represent to change laws at the lower and upper houses. We don’t care to know who our Local Government Chairmen are, but we seem lost in the idea that the president has the silver bullet to set all things right. This is far from correct!

These energetic speeches that don’t promote love but divide us have the capacity to heat up the polity, cause further division and potentially damage more than heal. Let us desist.

As we go to the polls, pray for Nigeria that God’s will be done! That God will work through our freedom of choice and His sovereignty. That God will harden every heart that he wants to deal with and awaken the conscience of everyone He intends to use. That God will intervene in Nigeria and set things right. Pray that God will stir up His people called by His name to do the needful, as our nation is only as dark as the people shining God’s light in it.

Selah!!!

 

Kind Regards,

Adeolu Akinyemi.

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