It’s time to repent!
By Mike Winther
It is time to repent of our malice toward fellow believers.
There is nothing wrong with discussion, dialogue, and debate. It is a good thing when we air ideas and exchange facts. This is iron sharpening iron. But for most of the presidential campaign, the debate in the Christian community was short on ideas and facts and long on ad hominem attacks.
Go back and look at your facebook posts, your blogs and your personal conversation. Do these exchanges exude Christian love? Are they full of facts? Are they full of biblical principles? In general, there was very little of these positive things, but there was no shortage of heated comments that may have caused hard feelings.
It is time to repent of expecting something for nothing
No, I am not talking about forced government redistribution of resources—although this is certainly a real problem. Instead, I am talking about expecting to win an election without changing anyone’s worldview—a something for nothing attitude about politics.
Election Day for a country is much like report card day to a student. A political campaign is a good parallel to the taking of a test. The test precedes the grade on the report card, just as a political campaign precedes the electoral result. A student may pour heart and soul into taking a test, but if he misunderstands the material, his test labor is in vain.
Political campaigns are not educational. The political campaign is about trying to change votes, not about changing the philosophies of our population. About three billion dollars ($3,000,000,000) was spent on the campaigns of Mitt Romney and Barak Obama and none of this colossal expenditure educated anyone about the principles of good government or good economics. In fact most of this spending was subtly doing just the opposite.
Campaign strategy is about avoiding the controversial. Campaigns win elections by creating image, by appealing to vague and broad ideas that attempt to gain a vote without losing one.
Your political opponents are not winning elections because they are better campaigners (test takers), they win elections because they have worked diligently for 20, 30, or 40 years to change the philosophy of America (they studied!). This is done through schools, service clubs, think tanks, and the media.
For the failing student, no amount of test taking effort can compete with the successful student who studied diligently all semester. For the politician, no amount of campaign effort can compete against the groups who “educated” diligently for 30 years.
IPS is preparing America (and the world) for the tests that we will take in the coming decades. We are that diligent student who doesn’t wait until the test to worry about the report card. Every year we change the political, economic, and spiritual philosophies of several thousand people. We do this on an annual budget that is less than two 30 second campaign spots on national television. Imagine how many minds we could touch if we had even 1% of the time and money that was spent on just one of our presidential candidates’ campaigns.
What percent of your income is devoted to the battle for the hearts and minds of your countrymen? How does this compare to your spending on newspapers, movies, publications, and cable TV? Most of these expenditures in our family budgets are supporting opposing philosophies.
Our philosophical adversaries spend billions upon billions of dollars to form our nation’s philosophies for the long-term. Perhaps we should get a clue! Like Charlie Brown kicking Lucy’s football, we never learn our lesson. We keep doing the same thing and expect different results.
It is time to repent of our lack of humility
We are quick to point a finger, but slow to self-evaluate. We assume that we are right and that the other guys are wrong. We need to be genuinely humble and looking for our own philosophical misunderstandings. We need to be constantly seeing to apply scriptural principles to the policy issues of the day. Do we criticize those who support an 80% socialist economy while ourselves supporting a 30% socialist economy? Do we know the biblical standards for taking a nation to war? Do we understand the history and basis of the English common law? Do we understand and support the sanctity of private contract?
I would submit that we have met the real enemy… and it is us.
It is time to repent of basing our opinions on our peer group
We are all influenced by our friends and colleagues—and this is not always bad. We must, however, self evaluate and ask ourselves if our opinions are based on objective analysis of the issues. Or are our opinions based on emotional reaction or on the opinions that we absorb from our peer group.
It is time to repent of building our opinions on rhetoric instead of actions
During political campaigns we often hang on every word spoken by the candidates, but we fail to invest any time into researching their actions. Actions do speak louder than words. We must become more discerning and that means researching the past policy positions of the candidates. Rarely does the leopard change his spots. Over the years, I have been fooled many times by candidates who publicly took a position on an issue that agreed with me only to find them betraying this position after winning the election. In every case, I discovered that their past record would have revealed the truth to me if only I had looked at it and trusted it as the real indication of the politician’s heart.