What is a Christian to do?
I’m not a political analyst and I’m not a political pundit groupie either.
You could say I casually follow politics. I know the issues and the candidates. I’m up to speed on what some polls are telling us. I know the difference between Anderson Cooper and Bill O’Reilly.
I am a traditionalist and I refuse to vote early (not disparaging those who do vote early). I just like the nostalgia of Tuesday, Election Day voting. But that’s about the extent of my real political involvement.
With all that said, I will stay awake tonight, as many Americans will, and find out who will be the 45th President of the United States. Tonight, there will be drama, tears, excitement, and suspense. Every element that makes a great story will flood the News Talk channels this evening.
We will soon learn who the next leader of the free world will be.
Loud voices have told us this year is the MOST important election year in our history. I don’t like using and hearing superlatives like that. You’ve probably heard it in church:
- “NOBODY likes that!”
- “EVERYBODY likes that!”
Really? EVERYBODY prefers one thing?
I rarely bite when fed those lines because people are so different. If two people get together, they may be able to share many points of agreement. They would also have many differences of opinion.
I knew that God called me to be a conservative, evangelical pastor, but I wanted to attend a secular university (University of Tennessee…Go Vols) for an important reason. I desired to hear the different sides of the different stories.
I knew my side pretty well. I knew what I believed and for the most part why I believed it. So that left me with a couple options:
A. I could surround myself with people who thought exactly like me and close myself off to others and their opinions.
B.I could learn what others believe and why they believe it. I came away from that experience with an even deeper conviction of my beliefs. But I also had an understanding of why others may not hold my views.
What’s different this time?
This election cycle has brought forth something different from previous campaigns. I understand the differences AND I appreciate those differences.
However, the spirit and actions of how these views are shared is deeply concerning to me.
Punching people and hurting people over politics is ridiculous. And our elected leaders must demonstrate self-control and lead with a steady hand. It feels as if our country could literally blow at any moment with the tension that has built up.
Let’s all take a step back and BREATHE.
If your candidate does not win, don’t go smash a window. Don’t go on a “sky is falling” social media tirade. Win graciously and lose graciously. Responding with violence or hateful speech means no one wins.
Martin Luther King Jr once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
MLK Jr’s words paint a beautiful picture of how to respond politically while maintaining one’s Christian beliefs. Be a light and display the love of Christ (John 13:35)!
As a Christian, we understand that God is our ultimate King. God is our Guide. God is our President. He is the one we give our ultimate allegiance to.
We do not understand His thoughts, His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). God is sovereign, and that means God is in control. We do not need to fear or be dismayed (Isaiah 41:10).
What can I do?
- Pray. Prayer is the most important thing a Christian can ever do.
- Vote. It is our civil responsibility to vote AND to vote our convictions. Do your research and know where politicians stand on the issues.
- Trust. Remember God is in control and nothing happens without His direction.
- Listen. The best way to learn is to listen. Listen to others and their opinions. Be respectful.
- Share. If we know anything about our faith, we know that it is meant to share. The Gospel is itself a stumbling block. There is zero sense in causing other things to become stumbling blocks.
- Act. Be a part of the solution instead of the problem. Find healthy ways to live out and talk about your convictions.
Blessed to be your Pastor,
Pastor Wesley Baldwin