The results are in.
I am willing to wager that they are not what you wanted. Maybe they are.
I have been alive for seven elections, five of which I remember, counting this one. I have voted in three. I have yet to see an election where everyone was satisfied. I know there are many who have lived even longer than I have. I am sure they would agree that more often than not, people say that they are voting for the lesser of two evils.
Thank you for still being willing to vote.
This election season, with most of America feeling like we have been more polarized than ever, I will admit that I rolled my eyes and walked away in most conversations about politics. I chose to let my voice be diminished rather than speaking truth where truth was needed, regardless of my views. For that I am sorry.
I am thankful to those friends who challenged me, as I so often am. I am thankful to those who encouraged me to vote, even if it was only for the local elections, because those still matters and we still have a say. I am more thankful than words can express for a church and a pastor who did not tell me who to vote for or how to vote, but simply spoke truth where it mattered most. That truth is this: everything, including this election, comes down to love. It comes down to where we place our trust.
In the matter of three days, my heart had been moved from opting out (which I will call now for what it is: evidence of a victim mentality) to feeling like God wanted me to vote. Don’t get me wrong, I know full well that my faith and my God are not in existence solely for the sake of the United States. Or that God wants everyone to vote per se.
I’m not even saying that God wanted the person who is now president in Office. He gave us the freewill to choose. Just as He always had when Israel demanded a King, even the Kings that were not the best choice. He does have His hand on our nation and our president, just as He did with Saul, and Nebuchadnezzar, or Ahab, Rehoboam or any other King with questionable character. I do believe that He will work it all out for our good. But we still have a choice in what that looks like even then.
As followers of Christ, we are called to be a voice to the voiceless and the marginalized, and to care for the poor. We are called as Christians to look out for the foreigners in our midst (Exodus 22:22, Deuteronomy 14:28-29, Isaiah 58:7, Proverbs 31:8-9, Psalm 82:3, James 1:27… I could go on). There are a number of scriptures that tell us that this is God’s heart. I, personally, am an advocate for the rights of all people to at least have a voice. I pray we as Christians, and as a nation have voted in line with that.
But what’s done is done. This my friends, is no reason to give up hope. It is no reason to bicker with our brothers and sisters, believers and unbelievers alike. It is no reason to allow our pride and ignorance to give us rights to gloat. We are still called to love. Regardless of the opinions of those around us, we do not always have to agree, but we do have to love. I fear we have done a poor job of doing just that.
The results of the recent election are also no excuse for us to slander our leaders. If we desire to look like Jesus in how we live our lives, is this something we ever saw modeled in Him? Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). We need to honor God in all things, and in honoring God, we must also honor those in whom God has placed in authority over us.
I am reminded of so many examples throughout the bible where believers have found themselves serving under kings they did not agree with, believers who were in exile under nations that were not their own, believers who themselves had been oppressed, where the situations they were in, were less than ideal. In every circumstance, God’s people have always made the most of what they had.
Joseph was sold into slavery into a country where he didn’t belong, thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Daniel was taken into Babylonian exile, along with Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. Jesus himself lived under an oppressive government, one that with the help of his own people, sentenced Him to one of the most violent deaths imaginable. Paul and the other disciples lived under this rule as well. They all faced persecution of some form or another. Did that change how they responded to those in authority above them? It did not. Many of them earned favor with their leaders, and they all exercised their rights as individuals. But never once did they slander or purposely create a rebellion. A close look at Romans 13 might establish why.
In a generation where the internet and social media are prevalent, it is easy to get bogged down with negativity. When we have so many differing opinions and voices telling us how to think and what to feel, blurring the lines between what is right and wrong, often through polarizing discourse. I will say right now that black and white thinking is not real thinking. With all this being fed into our brains on a regular basis, it is as important as ever to know what God says about our lives, our worlds, and the issues presented.
There are many things that aren’t exactly right with America, but there are still so many countries where there aren’t even voting rights, or dare I say it, the choice not to vote. There are countries with little to no rights for women and children, there are few resources in which to care for them.
America has walked a hard road for her people to have these rights, with many lives that have been lost and put on the line to make it so. We need not take these things for granted. Yes, we still have a long ways to go. I know many feel that we have even regressed in light of the current circumstances. I am still believing for better days ahead, but I’m not necessarily expecting the improvements to come from the government. If they do, that’s great! But we as people need to take action as well.
I guess what I’m getting at is that we cannot place our hope in who is sitting in their seat in the Oval Office, or whatever seat of authority. Our hope should be in Jesus Christ and the sacrifice that He has paid for us. The same sacrifice that He paid for those serving and leading our country. We still need to be Christ-like towards them too. We need to remember that their souls are just as valuable as our own. We need to pray for our leaders.
We don’t have to like the president, or other people who were elected. We don’t have to agree with how they are running the country, but we do have love them. We must continue to honor them. To complain about those placed in authority above us, in essence, is to say that God is not big enough to still use them for His glory. It’s like saying that God is not big enough, or good enough to change hearts, and ultimately change our country and our world. I
I by no means want to be naive to, or overlook my friends who are black, mexican, female or part of the LGBTQ communities. I am heartbroken with you. I am even more heartbroken that so many Christians have said the it was God’s will… God let’s the people choose. This is what America as a whole has voted. I am heartbroken that we as a nation have allowed fear to influence us so greatly. To those who are afraid for America’s future, you are rightly so. However, we cannot let the pendulum swing so far the other way as to allow it to blind us from choosing to love our fellow man. I know how difficult that can be when we are continuously being hurt. Friends, consider Him who endured such opposition-- to the point of the cross-- so that we too, will not grow weary and lose heart. It’s up to us to lead the way in love.
What are we doing in order to do our part to make America what we hope for it to be? We can start with our prayers and our respect for her leaders. Then, we can take action to love the other people around us and move forward in ways we can help put hands and feet on our love. Let’s make these next four years worthwhile in how we have served our leaders and our people, and what we have done to make a difference. Not in what our government and president have or have not done as we believe they should have. Look to God for those things, and move where He leads instead.