Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Three Simple Thoughts on the Election Results

I went to bed last night before all of the election results came in, so I woke up this morning to discover that President Obama had been re-elected.  My next move was to then go on my regular social media sites and read what others thought about the results of the election.  I have friends who would be considered extremely liberal ... others extremely conservative ... and quite a few that would fall in between somewhere.  Some were gloating.  Some were complaining.  Some were cursing.  Some were proud.  Some were saying how disappointed they were in America.  Some were saying that America made the best decision it could have made.  Others were talking about how everyone who voted for President Obama simply wants a handout while those who voted for Romney will now just go back to work and support everyone else.  Some were called bigots.  Others were called racists.  Some remarks were, honestly, quite funny and light-hearted.  There were comments on both sides that I agreed with ... others I disagreed with ... and some were totally offensive to me.  But, it all brought to mind a few simple thoughts ...

  • I'm thankful to live in a country that's a bit "messy."  We can't claim the right of free speech without being willing to tolerate someone using that right.  While the "venom" that has been spewed in social media from both sides is honestly quite nauseating to me, I'd much rather be nauseated by the right of free speech than to be nauseated by someone trying to control what I say.
  • (I'm a pastor, so this is my Biblical analogy) Our freedom allows us the right to say what we wish but freedom ... like grace ... can be taken advantage of.  Just because we CAN say something doesn't mean we SHOULD.  In the same way, I believe that God's grace covers all of my sin, but that doesn't give me the right to just go and do what I want simply because God forgives me.  Grace calls me to a higher standard.  Freedom should as well.
  • Healthy conflict is a good thing.  The key word, though, is "healthy."  Something I've learned in my marriage is that it's not the absence of conflict that builds intimacy, but it's the handling of conflict properly that helps build intimacy between my wife and I.  In marriage,the reality of two imperfect people pledging to live together, with all their faults, with all their imperfections, for the rest of their lives means that all of those faults and all of those imperfections will become very evident to each other … for the rest of their lives. 
    When my wife and I face those imperfections, we have a choice:  to respond through our sinfulness ... with bitterness, jealousy, resentment, selfish ambition ... or to respond in a way that seeks to please God?  Responding with honor, respect, and dignity to the other.  I don't claim to know much about life, but what I have discovered is that hatred generally breeds hatred.  Disrespect usually breeds disrespect.  Dishonor usually breeds dishonor.  Again, I'm a pastor.  Jesus gave us a pretty good rule to live by ... "Treat others the way you yourself would like to be treated."  Doesn't mean there won't be conflict.  But, the conflict can have a greater purpose than simply demeaning the other person.  When handled properly it can actually produce powerful results.

    So, I, like millions of other liberals and conservatives and people in between will continue to work hard ... continue to pay my taxes ... continue to pray for our nation and it's leaders asking God to help them lead with integrity and wisdom and the principles upon which our nation was founded ... and I will continue to live a life of gratitude thankful to all who fought and died for my right to express my thoughts and vote my convictions.  

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