The results are in.
Maybe you’re happy. Maybe you’re angry. I doubt you’re indifferent.
No matter which boat you find yourself in, if you follow Jesus Christ, there are some things we need to remember and continue to practice. For some of us, we need to return to practicing them. For others, we need to begin to take some of Christ’s teachings more seriously.
If you’re angry and you know it, put your shaking fists down. Pray. Breathe. Take time to remember that we live in a country and time in history where Christ followers have the privilege to voice their opinions for who governs. This was not always the case. In fact, it is a pretty new concept for the people of God. Two thousand years ago, Christ followers were the ones in the margins, the ones threatened with deportation, imprisonment, or death. And do you know how they responded to such threats? They loved everyone. They forgave their enemies. They took care of the leper, the sick, the dying, even when it might adversely affect their own health. They turned the other cheek. They died in the name of Jesus. They prayed for Caesar–not for his death, but for his redemption. The Kingdom of God did not grow because of Facebook posts. They did not change the landscape of the Roman Empire–history itself–by spewing hate for hate. They loved because Jesus loves. They prayed. They took care of the orphaned, widowed, and cast-offs.
If you’re happy and you know it, don’t clap your hands to rub it in other people’s faces. Be humble. Look for the alienated and include them. Do not fear, for perfect love casts out fear. The enemy is not another human being, regardless of nationality, race, creed, or orientation. The enemy is our own sinful nature and spiritual forces working against the Kingdom of God. Remember that the Kingdom of God is not led by who governs any country, even one with historical and current aspirations such as ours. Remember that the best way to prevent the things you don’t want others to do is to model it and engage in dialogue. Build a relationship with The Other. Listen. Hear the concerns of those who disagree with you. Be willing to listen to their stories. Maybe become a part of their stories! They have voices that are hurting and want to be included, to be heard.
Our country is torn. We are a nation that is hurting deeply. What better chance do we have to unite and be the kind of people our national documents claim we can be than by adhering to Jesus and what He teaches?
May you pause today before every conversation. Reflect on what you are about to say. Ask for guidance from our God and figure out if you will add to the hate that is swirling around or if you will add something that seems to be missing: love.