photo © 2009 republicanconference | more info(via: Wylio) So, another election and this time, the Republicans are the victors. And many evangelicals are doing happy dances all across the country, mainly because this was more of a conservative victory than a Republican one. The question now becomes, what do we do now? Campaigning is more fun and much easier than governing. Now the hard part, the real work begins.
Nobody in new speaker, John Boehner’s office is soliciting my advice, nor should they. But, if they were, this is what I would tell the new Republican leadership:
1) Lead firmly, but humbly. It’s only been a couple of days since their victory, so we’re not sure how Speaker-elect Boehner will lead, but I like what I’ve seen so far in that he’s been humble. He realizes the country isn’t just beside themselves in love with Republicans or even conservatives. They have a job to do. I would urge them to lead humbly, to listen to the other side, and to not act as if they have all the answers and are the smartest guys in the room.
2) Lower expectations. Part of the problem on both sides is that the most fervent supporters put all their hopes and dreams into one election. After all, we’ve been told every two to four years that “This is the most important election of our lifetime.” I regularly have to do Biblical therapy on Christians after an election doesn’t go our way, reminding them that, yes, God is still in control and largely, no matter who wins, we live in the safest, freest, most prosperous country in history. So if Christians in Rome could live under Nero, we can live even if the party of choice doesn’t win. I would urge Republicans in the lead in the house to lower expectations. Everything that conservatives want to see changed won’t happen in six months.
3) Keep your eye on the ball. Don’t get bogged down in petty disputes. Don’t find nitpicky ways to defeat the President. Don’t latch onto made-up, talk-radio, cable-news, Internet controversies. Focus on the issues that elected you by seeking measurable progress on lowering the deficit, promoting job creation, creating a culture of life, encouraging a responsible foreign policy.
4) Politics is the art of the possible. Yes, the American people voted in Republicans in a historic way. But, don’t lose sight that our country is largely split 50/50. I believe we’re a center-right nation, in that we’re largely down the middle and lean to the right. But remember there is a whole other side that has their ideological beliefs. Which means you won’t get all you want. You’ll have to compromise and get what you can. Half a loaf is better than no loaf at all.
5) Beware the corrupting influence of power. Many idealistic, well-intentioned believers go to Congress and end up getting drunk with power. I’ve seen and heard of good, evangelical Christians succumb to the power games, lose their marriages, and seek to rule their own little Kingdoms. Realize that you are there to serve, you are there for a purpose, you are there because God has sovereignly placed you in leadership. Lead wisely, humbly, firmly.
6) Remember, He’s God, You’re Not. Remember that God is ultimately in charge of world events. Psalms 75:6 says that promotion comes from neither the east or the west, but from God. And we’ve seen, just in the last few years, how quickly the political currents change. Two years ago, President Obama was on top of the world. Now his approval ratings have sunk. In 2001, post 9/11 and again in 2004, post re-election, President Bush was hugely popular. People were speaking of a “permanent Republican majority.” Then two years later, President Bush was highly unpopular. People are fickle. Fortunes change. Don’t get cocky. Stay grounded and do the work you were called to do.