For better or worse, the election is over. What a crazy ride it’s been, right? There have been ups and downs, shocks and surprises. and it’s been vicious – not just between candidates either. People have been tense and anxious and that anxiety and fear has played out across social media with people lashing out at friends and loved ones, burning bridges and torching relationships along the way.
I wish I could say that the Church was not a part of all that, but that wouldn’t be true. The ugly has seeped into our interactions, too.
I remember thinking, “Please, just let it be November 9th and then it will be all over.” I was thinking, that no matter who won, we’d could just move forward and get on with our lives. I even wrote about the election and the fact that life would go on (you can read that post HERE).
Unfortunately, even though the election is over, there is still a whole lot of nastiness still going around. Both candidates and President Obama have said all the right things. They’ve extended the olive branch to each other. However, the deep wounds in our country are still bleeding and festering and we the people have become we the enemies. Worse, those within the Church walls have become enemies – many times bitterly.
I don’t know if you voted for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or neither one. I do know, Church, that we are on deck. Our number has been called up, and it is time to act. We are called to shine the light of Jesus into the darkest places. We are called to love and to be peacemakers.
But before we can help a hurting world, we need to stop attacking each other.
We can’t, with any degree of integrity, share the love of Jesus when we can’t even love each other.
As believers, we need to move forward, so we can be that light in the darkness for a lost and hurting world. The pages on the kingdom calendar are flying by, and the time left to share the Gospel grows ever shorter. In the light of eternity, an election seems little.
I believe there are four things I think every believer needs to stop doing and three things we all need to start doing (if we aren’t already).
Stop with the Moral Superiority
Never has the Church been so divided over what the right thing to do was than this election. There are believers who are feeling relief and thankfulness, believing that God is giving America one more chance. There are believers who sincerely believe America is over and done. Through all the turmoil and confusion, one thing I’ve seen over and over again, is this smug spiritual superiority based on who someone voted for. Honestly? This doesn’t really help anyone. You can’t judge someone’s faith and their relationship with Jesus based on who they voted for, and you really shouldn’t try. You may not agree with their choice, but people have all kinds of reasons for voting the way they do. Even if you truly do feel your choice was the more spiritual one, it is amazing what a humble spirit can accomplish.
Stop Calling People Names
This leads me to my next thing – please stop calling other people names. Seriously. How does calling people names promote any kind of unity? How does this do anything other than make people defensive? I know my first response is to defend myself. While everyone is responsible for their own actions or reactions, let’s make it a bit easier on each other and stop baiting each other by name calling. Again, I’m pretty sure when Jesus said to love each other and live in unity, that didn’t mean calling someone a baby-killer or a bigot.
Stop Telling People How to Feel
For those who see a Trump presidency as the start of the apocalypse, they are in mourning. They do feel sad and grieved and maybe even scared. Give them space. At the same time, allow people to feel relief and gratefulness, too. This idea of my feelings are legit, but you shouldn’t have yours is very alienating. If your candidate won, be gracious enough to put your arm around that person who sees things differently. If your candidate lost, don’t take someone else’s joy as a hostile move.
Stop Believing Lies
Here’s the deal – Donald Trump doesn’t have the power to fix the world or destroy the world. Yes, I know he’s the president-elect, and yes, I know he will have access to the big red button (at least I’m assuming that nuclear button is red). But, he isn’t, ultimately, in control. God is. I’ve heard a lot of doomsday language over the past few days. It’s easy to get caught up in the fears in our head. That’s why it is so important to exam those thoughts. Arabah Joy has a great post on truth journaling. (you can read it HERE) Remember, Satan is the father of lies, and he’d like nothing better than to see you paralyzed by believing lies – either that the world has ended or that now you can sit back and relax.
Pray for Donald Trump. Pray for the other elected leaders. Pray for the people in your community. Pray for Hillary Clinton whom I’m sure is having a really bad week. Pray for fellow believers. Pray for those people you view as your enemy. Pray for those that disagree with you. Pray that we the Church can be a light during this tumultuous time. Pray that our unity will be a testimony to the unsaved world. Prayer is the single most important thing any believer can do. If you are devastated by the election results, pray more.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.. Phil. 4:6,7
Start Loving Those Around You – Right Now
As believers, our actions and our words should be different. We should stick out like sore thumbs – in a good way! No matter who the president is, we can love the people around us. We can demonstrate peace during turmoil, triggering people to wonder and ask what’s our secret. In our own communities, there are numerous opportunities to reach out to those who are hurting, to see those who feel invisible and to hear those who feel silenced. Don’t wait for change at the government level. Change starts with you!