I know, love, and respect many Christians who are on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Both are focused on issues they think are extremely important to our nation. I agree with many of them, and find myself conflicted as I see God’s light and love at work across the political spectrum. Everyone is so focused on convincing others that we forget to listen, we want to be understood so badly that we don’t take time to understand. High tension, confusion, and frustration are the defining characteristics of the church right now. We are called to go low, to serve, to encourage, to lift up, to bless, to give thanks, and to understand.
It seems, that on both sides, we are giving into fear by blaming, arguing, complaining, and being more concerned with justifying ourselves than loving others. The passion in your heart is important, you have a voice, and what God is speaking to you needs to find expression. We need to stand up for righteousness, for goodness, for mercy, for compassion, for freedom, and for justice. You are made in God’s image and he is speaking through you, but we lose our voice when we fail to see God in one another.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13:35
Yes we need to be Jesus to the world, but we also need to reflect Him within our own family. Loving our family can sometimes be harder than loving a stranger because we are more aware of their faults. To all Christians, don’t make assumptions about why someone does something, or about who they actually are. Stop blaming, stop accusing, and stop spreading fear. The way to transformation and change is always through vulnerability, openness, going low, seeking to understand; transformation comes through love.
1. To Christians who have values that motivated your vote for Clinton, stop labeling all Trump supporters as ‘this or that’, stop spreading doom and gloom. Real change comes from real relationships. Affirm some issues you can agree on with your friends that are ‘on the other side’. If you first find commonality you then have a position of influence to share where you disagree. Without relationship you will not have this voice.
2. Christians who have values that led you to vote for Trump, seek to understand those that are different than you, humble yourselves by listening and empathizing. Close the door to pride. Take notice of the concerns of your friends, where can you agree with them? Speak up to support minorities, condemn racism, defend the defenseless. Jesus wasn’t concerned with ‘being’ right but about ‘doing’ right.
3. Everyone, transformation and reconciliation happens when we bless and not curse. That means we bless our enemies, have you done that today? The influence we have to correct is proportionate to how much we have encouraged.
I believe we all have important perspectives and values, and that God is at work through us all. God has ignited a purpose and vision in your heart that is worthy fighting for, being passionate about, and even grieving over when it goes unrealized. I want you to fulfill the purpose that God has for you. I want you to speak out, to stand up, and to make a difference, but we all need to humble ourselves before one another; the love of Jesus demands it.
Where do you see God at work in republicans, in democrats, in our nation? If you cannot answer this question, or refuse to give voice to validate Christ in your brothers and sisters, you have given up any real influence you have. Instead of being a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal, let us find our true place of influence through the amazing cruciform love of God. Jesus went low, He served rather than demanding to be served, He stood up for the weak, He preached about the Kingdom, and He loved everyone, even those who persecuted Him, to the point of death. It is in this way, by adopting Cruciform Love, that we can bridge the gaps that have divided us. It is in this way that we we will be a light to the world, an agent of change, not just for our values or political views, but for the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)