This may be the closest to a political post that I ever write. Whether or not I agree with another person’s political views, I will never tell them which way to lean or to vote, only encourage them to pursue Truth in making their decision.
It’s election day, and this may have been the ugliest political season of my memory, if not of a lifetime. The rhetoric has been escalated (or perhaps it has de-escalated as it seems to have taken quite the trip into the lowest parts of our collective psyche) to new levels of anger, fear, and even hatred. On both sides.
I have witnessed brothers and sisters in Christ trade in love for “righteous” indignation. We have given up words of affirmation and encouragement for schoolyard taunts and insults. We are sacrificing our witness for the opportunity to be “right.”
Eight years ago, I watched as now-President Obama made history. I was optimistic, even though I hadn’t voted for him. I remember sitting in my living room thinking about so many things: how far through the muck and mire of our country has come, how much more work we still had to do, and how blessed I was to be witnessing such a moment. I was ready to support him, our leader. It has hurt my heart to see, especially among fellow Christ-believers, the disrespect that so many have had for him. To hear many question, not his policies or positions, but his worth as a human being (including to the extent of some I know giving consideration to the idea that Pres. Obama could quite possibly be the Anti-Christ), has grieved my heart for these eight years.
Christians, we are better than this.
Our nation needs us to be better than this.
So we stand here now, and some would have us believe that this is a make or break moment; that if Mrs. Clinton wins, or if Mr. Trump wins, then our balance upon the precipice of eternity will be tipped unchangeably toward our demise.
The truth is that we (not just our elected leaders) are called to move forward and out into the world, bringing the love, Spirit, and power of Christ with us. Regardless of the outcome of our elections, we are free to love, honor, and exhort one another. (1 Corinthians 12, Galatians 5)
The truth is that no matter who wins, scripture reminds us that their authority is given by God (Romans 13) and we are called to honor them (1 Peter 2) without condition.
The truth is that there may be leaders who persecute us, or others, and we may be called to stand up for our convictions, which may also mean stepping into the fire (Daniel 3). And even amidst persecution, we are still called to love our enemies (Matthew 5) and bless those who persecute us (Romans 12).
The truth is this: neither Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Trump will really determine the success or failure of our country. I put my hope in neither of them, nor in the government of our nation, regardless of the current political leanings of our elected officials. I personally find the concept of a “Christian nation” to be oxymoronic, as Christ did not come to deal in worldly power or establish an earthly governance. I DO believe, however, that we, as Christians, can make a huge difference in our nation and world by becoming the points at which the Kingdom of Heaven intersects with the kingdoms of this world:
Clothe and feed the poor. Stand up for the marginalized and neglected, not just the causes that best suit you (James 2). If you want to lead, first learn to serve (Matthew 20).
Most importantly (I believe), live without fear: fear of our neighbor, fear of the future, fear of losing everything we have on this Earth. Live lives of love with each other (Romans 8, 1 John 4). Unity does not mean conformity, but instead coming together to bless and serve one another. Even in disagreement we can strengthen our relationships and grow closer together.
I believe that Christ-believers (on both sides of the aisle) have some reconciliation to begin. We have called each other names, vilified others, and put forward a pitiful witness to the Spirit of Christ within us. We owe many apologies. In our “rightness,” we have been wrong, and reconciliation and restoration starts with us, with YOU.
I look forward to tomorrow with a hopeful heart: I am hopeful that we can put all this ugliness behind us. I am hopeful that together we can move forward in a direction that blesses not only Christians, but all others (including our “enemies” *gasp!), here and around the world. I am hopeful that we are following the leading of Christ to fight for justice and peace for all, and not with the weapons or methods of this world.
And I am honored to pray for and to serve President Clinton, or President Trump, or anyone else to whom God grants such authority. I pray that the Holy Spirit guide them, protect them, and bless them and their families in ways they and we have never imagined.
You see, they are both human beings, fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God, just as you and I are. Neither of them is our enemy. You and I are not enemies. The enemy of our souls is, however, working in all of this to divide us, to spread fear, and to steal, kill, and destroy.
The time has come, kingdom citizens, to put our politics aside and see each other and the world as God sees us.
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. (James 4:14-17 NLT)
Now let’s get started…