Saturday, November 10, 2012

Christianity After the Election

            The votes have been counted and the political landscape for our nation, state, and county have been laid out for at least the next two years. After what has likely been the most expensive and divisive election cycle in American history, a large question remains for American Christians: “Now what?”

            An informal analysis of Christians with whom I have personal contact reveals something very telling. As Christians, we are equally as divided over the outcome of the latest election as is our whole nation. This demands prayerful attention.

            Jesus said in Matthew 12:25 that when a nation divides against itself it is doomed to fail. Abraham Lincoln wisely and prophetically referenced these words of Christ before he ever ran for president. Tragically, the very issue he had in mind at the time would become the catalyst for the United State’s eventual bitter war under his presidency.

            Today we are truly a nation divided. The victory of President Obama was enough for him to remain in the Oval Office, but likely not enough for him to be able to garner the unquestioned support of the nation. In addition, a Republican-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate mean that the next few years could prove to be bitterly divisive on Capitol Hill. The fact is, after a bitter and expensive election cycle, the only thing we have changed is that we know who won and who lost. Tragically, we are still bitterly divided and we face large decisions amid this division. If ever there was a time for national prayer, it is now. There are some key things that Christians can, and must, do.

            First, we need to put an end to the divisive posturing. We may disagree on matters of policy, biblical interpretation, and the role of government. Thankfully, we live in a nation where such diversity of opinion is not only permitted, it is encouraged! Yet, we fail to serve Christ when derogatory terms are used to degrade the humanity of people with whom we disagree. Likewise, to pray for—or promote—the failure of governmental leaders is unhealthy for us all.

            Second, we need to put an end to the hatred. Hate is not a Biblical virtue. It is generally borne out of the insecurity of fear and distrust. Clearly, the latest election cycle has generated a tremendous level of fear, hatred, and distrust. It will take a lot of prayer to overcome these bitterly engrained emotions. If we are honest—and I think this is a time for us to be really honest with ourselves—most Americans are extremely distrustful and fearful of what the “other party” is going to do to our beloved nation. It is time that we all started talking with each other, rather than talking down to, and insulting each other.

            Third, Christians share in our humanity regardless of political affiliation and it is time to embrace one another as brothers and sisters in the faith. There is no reason for supporters of Obama to gloat in the midst of his win and there is no need for supporters of Romney to anticipate the end of the world as we know it. Neither response represents the faith of Christianity.

            Finally, we Christians need to seriously work together for the good of Jesus Christ. We may disagree on particular matters of theology, politics, or biblical interpretation. We may not always agree with one another’s expression of Christian faith and that is ok. It is still a nation where freedom of religion is vital. Pray for our nation and our elected leaders. Pray for our leaders to be guided in God’s Spirit and for our nation to be healed in God’s love. Pray that we can once again truly be one nation under God rather than one red and one blue nation.

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