What can we learn about Political Spirits?
Donald Trump’s treatment by the media reveals something about Global Political Spirits. The latest furor over a misspelled word gives us tremendous insight into how these spirits work. We might be accustomed to the intrigue of political machinery as it applies to left and right politics, but the identical devices are being used to abort spiritual leadership. These devices distract us from substantial issues in the Church leaving it barren and powerless. While one might expect this in the world of politics, it is tragic when it results in dividing the Family of God.
Before we go further we need to realize these same tactics are widely used by left and right advocates. Conservatives are not the only victims. Nevertheless our illustration features President Elect Trump. If you have not heard the latest rant, don’t bother. There is not much to the story except an excuse to avoid dealing with real issues. The real story is about Political Spirits and their devices.
The dynamics of these tactics are designed to delegitimize leaders. This is where we see the crossover to the church world where Political Spirits together with Religious Spirits, partner to divide and conquer. Unfortunately it is far too successful only because there are so many willing participants. This story is not new!
Detractors will latch onto incidental flaws, seeking to accentuate them beyond their significance. Jesus faced the identical powers at work in and through the religious establishment of His day. His assessment of their tactics is blunt and direct. He summarized the approach of the religious leaders saying,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” (Matthew 23:24-23)
His point is simple–stick to the real stuff. Instead the real issues, like justice and mercy, are lost in the shuffle. But the religious mind is ripe for this kind of manipulation. It cannot see issues with clarity. The religious become overly preoccupied with the superficial precision while permitting gross transgression (Strain out a gnat but swallow a camel). These are easy prey, pawns for principalities and powers devoted to destroying anything of substance. Meaningless flaws become mountainous hurdles which cannot be overlooked. Some are innocently duped while others willingly participate to usurp power.
Essentially the ambitious allude to innocuous weakness or blunders in order to disqualify. They skewer reality in order to suggest a level of incompetence not present. This is often done while ignoring actual incompetence. If it were only a matter of facts it would be simple to wade through the confusion and get to the truth. However, when the tentacles of a political spirit are added to the mix, a swirling mixture of emotions provides the necessary platform for injustice. The question becomes ‘how do we overcome this as Christians?”
While an easy 4 step approach would be convenient the real key is humility. Escaping the vortex of confusion in these conflicts requires a rare capacity found only in humility. Jesus said as much. He told the Pharisees it was confidence in their perspective which trapped them(John 9:41). Humility unfortunately is largely gained by discovering your limitations. Given enough opportunities we stop believing our perceptions and start looking for a broader perspective. This is the heart of James’ counsel to the early church in their battle against division.
“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19)