A Nation Divided Or A People Devoted?
This past week we all witnessed a historic election in which 60 million people voted for President Elect Donald Trump, and over 60 million people voted for Secretary Hillary Clinton. The ballots have been cast but not all of the votes have been counted. Either way, we see a very divided popular vote. (I also realize not all of the votes casted have been fully counted yet, due to military and absentee ballots.)
That means, that there are many people in our nation who are celebrating what they consider to be a miraculous outcome and many others who are fearful, angry and view the outcome as a disastrous mess.
Not only do we have to process our own feelings but we also have to prepare appropriately face the strong emotional reaction of others in this moment. Pastorally, I want to briefly share some thoughts that may help equip you in processing the emotional reaction of your coworkers, neighbors, family members, and small group members. Or just that random conversation with a stranger.
The Bible teaches us to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. This is true regardless if you agree with the basis for their feelings! [Tweet "Christian love is rooted in a much deeper well than the shallow waters of political agreement. "]
To say that a person should not feel the way that they do is both insulting and insensitive to the gravity of what has just taken place.
Whether you or I feel the protesting going on in our cities is right, is not really the point.
These individuals have the Constitutional right to express themselves in this way provided that it is peaceful. We'll never have everyone agreeing on everything. But, we also understand that people tend to hear better once they’ve been heard.
To the 60, 839,922 of you who did not vote for Donald Trump to become the 45th President of the United States, we hear you. You are too large of a group, representing too important of issues to be dismissed.
To the over 60 million who voted for Trump, with any number of the wide range of emotions that was out there, enjoy the feeling of your candidate's victory. That is your right. I think it wise for you exercise that right extra tact and kindness.
My civic responsibility of voting may be over but my Christian responsibility in this process has just begun. Where do we go from here?
The media is having a difficult time broadcasting anything beyond the message of us being divided.
The question remains, “How do we live devoted to higher laws more than we are divided over political convictions?”
As Christians we can go far beyond even “Constitutional compassion.” Let’s operate by even higher principals and Kingdom laws. God said that His ways and His thoughts are higher and above ours. (Isaiah 55)
In my short 35 years living on this planet, I have learned that there is much more to a person than:
- The bumper sticker on their car
- The level of education they have
- The region of the country they reside in
- The political viewpoint they hold
- Or the vote for a Presidential candidate they cast
We’ve said it before and I feel it far more deeply in this moment...
[Tweet "If you try to draw a circle that excludes me, I’ll just draw a bigger circle that includes you."]
We truly need one another.
A difference in voting or lack of voting does not make someone less of an American, less of a Patriot or less of a Christian!
Trust me, there are truly intelligent, godly Americans on every side of the issues facing our nation.
Regardless of your view of the election’s outcome, we each possess the distinct privilege of living in a nation who, for the past 240 years, has unprecedentedly modeled a peaceful transition of leadership in our highest office! That is something to be proud of. That is something to defend.
Wednesday morning, I found myself personally thankful for and impressed with Secretary Clinton’s concession speech. I felt she delivered that speech more with poise and heartfelt emotion.
I was also grateful for and proud of the way President Obama handled a very difficult situation in communicating his principle-based support for our new president elect.
We all know how deeply divided Secretary Clinton and President Obama are on the policies Donald Trump campaigned under. Yet, both of them gave every American a challenge and example to follow.
Will we be divided over political issues or devoted to a higher set of values?
Clinton & Obama's devotion to Democracy took precedent over the deep levels of personal disagreement they felt.
As Christians, let’s allow OUR devotion to go even HIGHER and even DEEPER.
Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us in allowing Kingdom principles to anchor and guide each of us through any level of personal disagreement or political division.
My prayer is that EACH OF US would help birth...“a unity, out of our diversity, that is maintained by honor, pleasing in God’s sight and a sign & wonder to a watching world.”
- Let’s be gracious in our speech both in person and on social media.
- Let’s listen and hear people who deeply disagree with us and not just “wait to answer.”
- Let’s not ruin our family’s Thanksgiving meal:)
- Let’s expose people to a love that goes beyond agreement.
- Let’s draw bigger circles.
- Let’s love our neighbors, honor our leaders and believe for God’s will to be done in our nation.
Paul’s words to his spiritual son Timothy could not be more appropriate.
I Timothy 2:1-6 NLT I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.
This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.
President-elect Trump, we are praying for your success as our new leader.
Those who voted for him, pray for him. He will need it.
Those who did not vote for him, I urge you to pray for him.
And I pray that we all find a way to honor and protect the office he represents and the democracy we have shed blood to keep.
"Father, help us to be valiantly devoted to things so much greater than that which currently divides us. "
photo credits: The Economist Getty Image; ABC news.