As the general election approaches, many young people across England will be grappling with the question; How do I balance being relevant and empathetic to the culture around me, while also standing for the truth of God’s word as I engage with politics?

Politics loves a gotcha’ question. The stage has been set, the emotional direction established, and the obvious’ answer clearly laid before you. There can only be one way to respond, anything else leaves you looking pretty silly. 

Tim Farron was a classic example of this. During the 2017 general election campaign he was asked Is gay sex a sin?” From the cultural mood at the time, and the disposition of the interviewer, it was obvious that the only acceptable answer was a resounding no”, but Tim, an evangelical Christian could not provide the right’ answer. 

We saw a similar scenario play out during Kate Forbes’ campaign to be SNP leader back in 2023, with her answers to questions on same-sex marriage and abortion placed under significant scrutiny. Again, due to her faith convictions, she was unable to offer the correct’ response. 


Whilst perhaps rare, these are the sort of gotcha’ questions many Christians dread being asked. The cultural moment in which we live has given a certain framing to the question, that to answer without going with the grain is to look like a bigot, lacking compassion, and on the wrong side of history. 

Obviously, this is not a reputation anyone wants. But for those who have grown up as the culture wars over sexuality, race, identity, and other controversial debates have exploded, there is a hypersensitivity that this is the perception many have of Christians who hold true to biblically orthodox teaching. Yet, we also know that to be a Christian is not to just pick and mix the bits of the faith that we like the sound of, and ditch the bits we don’t, but to declare that Jesus is Lord’ and His ways are good. 

So, when we get gotcha’ questions we really do seem to be in a bind. Do we go with the flow and appear nicer and perhaps even more just, or do we go with the teaching of our Lord and Saviour? 

Except, despite the cultural framing, the question is a dud. To fall into the cultural trap of divorcing love and compassion from the truth of God’s word is to make a grave error that fractures our view of God, and buys into a fractured view of truth, beauty, and goodness. 

In Good News for the Public Square [2], the authors argue the moral order is… the Creator’s loving ordering of the universe so that all His creatures have the freedom to be what they were created to be… God is at the same time the definition of what is right and what is good for what He has made. Consequently, goodness and morality are the two sides of the same coin: what is right and moral will be best for us.”

We see this embodied in Jesus for He is both the way, the truth, and the life”, the Incarnation of God’s love (1 John 4). Furthermore, in John 1 we are told Jesus is full of grace and truth and when we look at His life, we always see grace and truth in action together. We also see this in Ephesians 5:9 where goodness, righteousness, and truth come as a package. 

In our present context, we urgently need to reclaim the unity of truth and grace as we find ourselves in a culture that has no framework for understanding that perhaps some of the societal strife we feel is a direct result of our divorcing of truth and goodness.

None of this is to say that we should be harsh and unsympathetic to the difficulties and pain of living in this broken world. After all, in 1 Peter we are told, If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” 

In other words, there are times in which Christians face hardship and quite rightly deserve it. The message of 1 Peter is to expect suffering because Christ did, but if we do suffer it should be because we bear His name and embody grace and truth, not because we get a kick out of winding up those we disagree with or enjoy feeling self-righteous.

This is a difficult task, but we must hold grace and truth together, or as the AND Campaign puts it in the US, compassion and conviction. The conviction that God’s word is true and good for us, and compassion that life is messy and broken and the world we inhabit needs a Saviour, a humbling truth that applies to each and every single one of us. 

Find a range of resources to help you think, act, and pray before you cast your vote at CARE’s dedicated election website: engaGE24

[1]Stephen McAlpine has written a fantastic book on this theme called, Being the Bad Guys: How to Live for Jesus in a World that says you Shouldn’t.

[2]Timothy Lawrence (ed), Good News for the Public Square: A Biblical Framework for Christian Engagement, 2014, p.39.