Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Some Post-Election Thoughts

I’ve been processing the election for the past week.  I’m not sure if any of these thoughts will make sense and it’s not really in any particular order.  This is just a random collection of thoughts that have been on my mind since last Wednesday with no agenda involved whatsoever … except maybe that we take a look at our own hearts and take responsibility for our own actions and responses. 

·      I’ve seen many people on social media post things that say President-elect Trump has been chosen by God to save America.  I think one has to be extremely careful when bringing God into a conversation like that.  If someone chooses to say that about President-elect Trump, they would also have to be open to saying it about Hillary Clinton if she would have won.  God can choose whomever He desires and use whoever He desires and Romans 13:1 reminds us “all those in authority have been instituted by God.”  Whether it was Trump or Clinton, the winner would not have taken God by surprise and I’m pretty confident that He’s not scratching His head in heaven trying to figure out what to do next.  Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king's heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; he guides it wherever he pleases.”  Also, if one chooses to bring God in to the conversation in that way, do they not also have to be open to the possibility that he could have been chosen by God in order to humble America?  Romans 9:17 talks about Pharaoh during the time of Moses and the exodus and says that he was specifically raised up so that God’s name might be proclaimed in all the earth.  All of that to say it always makes me uneasy when I hear people say that God “backed” their candidate. 

·      Broken people are in our government, which means they are not perfect. Some are honest. Some are dishonest. Some are wise. Some ... not so much. They all make mistakes and yet God is still Sovereign and in control. God simply isn't in control of my world. He's in control of THE world.

·      I’ve seen and heard of many on the “winning” side mock and make fun of those on the “losing” side who are hurting.  They’ve been called “whiners,” and “babies,” and have been told to “get over it already.”  There are four basic ways that we are going to respond to people:  1) Apathy … I know, but I don’t care.  2) Antipathy … I don’t know and I don’t care.  3) Sympathy … I care, but I don’t know.  4) Empathy … I know and I care.   How we view people will direct how we respond to them.   If one views another as a “whiner” then the response will most likely be one of apathy … I know you're upset, but I just don’t care that you are.  I’m not so sure apathy is a Christ-like response.  It’s a very clear indication that my heart is hardened toward another person and I’m distancing myself from them.  The whole essence of Christianity is that Christ moved toward us!  If we are Christian, are we not supposed to demonstrate Christ and at least be open to seeking to understand and make an effort to enter in to another’s situation? Ephesians 4:2 teaches:  “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Nothing battles humility more than being on the “winning” side.  It’s difficult to be gentle if I’m busy gloating.  It’s really difficult to “bear with one another” when we’re busy complaining about one another.  It’s always easier to simply tell a person how they should be acting (which in reality is only how I want them to act) instead of sitting down with them and seeking to understand what truly lies behind their actions.  If you stay with someone long enough and just listen, what is truly going on inside of him or her will begin to reveal itself.  It doesn’t mean that we will agree with them or even condone their actions.  But, it does mean that we will have, as best as we could, tried to enter in to their situation and, in so doing, demonstrate Christ to them.

·      My disgusts or complaints toward another person are more a result of what is in my heart than what is in theirs.  Without humility, I will always be more willing to make the other person and their actions the issue rather than making my response to them the issue.

·      If someone is hurt or afraid or angry over the results of the election, it will always be easier to complain about the results or our government.  I’m not saying we do not have the right to do that, but could I suggest that we commit to doing at least twice as much praying for our government and it’s leaders than complaining about our government and its leaders. As followers of Jesus, we have the incredible opportunity and duty to pray for those in office.  If God guides the "king's" heart "wherever He pleases," let's pray that God guides it in the way of wisdom and integrity and morality and ultimately toward Him. (1 Timothy 2:1 - 2)

By the way, these are all first and foremost directed toward me.  This is what I have been wrestling with and seeking to come to grips with in my own life since last Wednesday.  I want to trust God.  I want to care for other people.  I want to respond in Christ-like ways to all people.  And, I want to pray.  Regardless of whether your candidate won or not, can we all agree that prayer is needed now more than ever.  “God, You say that where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.  Protect our hearts from those things and give us Your wisdom, the wisdom from above which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  Empower those of us who follow You to be peacemakers who sow in peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.  Amen."  (James 3:16 – 18) 

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