In my previous blog, I put forth an appeal for American presidential candidates, media, celebrities, and all citizens to lay down the weapons of stinging, biting judgmental words and consider a cease fire. It feels like the whole world has gone crazy in a frenzy for getting in the last vitriolic word, discovering and highlighting the latest dirt. But for now, I appeal to my brothers and sisters, fellow believers. We have become caught up in attacks against Trump and Clinton, some claiming that ‘true Christians’ would vote for their particular favorite. (As I see it, the characters of both are appallingly lacking, one covertly, one overtly, so its truly hard to weigh them on any sort of balancing scale. I say overt meaning that Trump’s repulsive tape (with likely more to follow) has been released and we have heard much from his own mouth; Clinton has gone to great lengths to make covert deals to delete or destroy or withhold evidence that must be heavily incriminating )
Even more concerning is when the attacks are railed against Pence. Can we leave the attacking to the candidates and the media, who seem to be working overtime at tearing one another apart? I implore each of us not to join in. It is not for us to lash out at a family member, one who is seeking to live out his faith in a God-given political leadership role. He needs our prayers, not our judgment. Of course we have the right to free speech, but, seriously, it is not free. Someone pays. Our voices truly need to be heard in heaven as we pray for each of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates, not in judging one another’s choices in whom we vote for.
Influence is a powerful gift of God – a gift to be used for His purposes and in His Name. So I propose we use our platform of free speech in redemptive ways. I am not a mathematician, but I do know that a negative plus a negative equals a further negative, further away from the positive. Further away from the light. The responses to our negativity attract further hurt and wounding, much like a magnet. Once we tread down the negativity path of others and follow their line of fire, we only bring out more negativity, more darkness, more divisiveness – and less light. Truly, this year the votes will be cast from hearts filled with anger, pride and fear – all negatives. It leads further away from voting from a place of faith (which by the way, is a positive.)
So if we could add our positive responses to the negativity around us, we will be heading in a redemptive direction. We are not called to be followers of the world’s way of handling things; we are called to follow the Leader, the true Savior. His desire for us is to display His nature. His last prayer was that we would be ‘one’ in unity.
So how can we speak positively? I’m not suggesting we gloss over things or not be truthful. I am suggesting we weigh our words and explore our hearts – are they motivated by fear, anger and/or hurt? Do they seek to further the gossip or do they direct others toward faith that there is a God in heaven Whose power far exceeds the best that the world has to offer? Are our words life-depleting or life-giving?
I wrestle with trying to sort out truth from fallacy, sort through not just gross character flaws but the critical issues that get lost in all of it, and sort through my feelings about all of this. It is overwhelming to listen to the latest newsflashes. But I don’t need to be drawn in and allow it to distract me from my mission – to be a reflector of the light in a darkening society that desperately needs grace and truth to guide them.
“Do all you have to do without grumbling or arguing, so that you may be God’s children, blameless, sincere and wholesome, living in a warped and diseased world, and shining there like lights in a dark place. For you firmly hold in your hands the very word of life” (Phil 2:15,16 JBPhillips)
Rather than joining in and magnifying the darkness, we need to magnify the Light and hope available to all to who will seek it. This may be our finest hour. An hour to bring comfort to the fearful, peacefulness in the turmoil, hope and Truth to the discouraged, which stands out in stark contrast like light against increasing darkness. Whoever wins this election cannot change the hearts of people, cannot bring lasting inner peace. Our trust is not in the candidates, no matter who will ‘win’ the election.
I do not have a nicely-wrapped solution to all of the angst we each feel. These truly are desperate times – times when we are so aware that we are knee-deep in a spiritual battle. They are confusing times. But they are also opportunities for us to stand firm and set our minds and hearts on the bigger purposes God has in mind.
So here are a few of our choices:
To not give in to fear and anger and discouragement;
To not give up in cynicism and resignation;
To not give way and be drawn in to the sensationalism and hype and negativity.
To not give voice to criticisms and judgments of one another.
But to give God’s word space in our minds and hearts, His Spirit reign in our words and our deeds. Let love have its perfect work among us.
If we believe God is true to His promises and His people, the time is now to act on it.
If God is our refuge, strength, redeemer, rescuer and King, then let THAT be the news we share with others. We can hold high the good news amidst all the bad news, independent of people’s choices or votes. Our battle is not against flesh and blood anyway, so let’s put down our weapons and stand in the light – that’s where He is. My guess is that God is not wringing His hands over this election, not intent upon attacking the candidates, but seeking to expose lies vs. truth for the sake of bringing it to the Light.
Not to condemn, but to redeem.
It is up to us as His people to humble ourselves, pray, seek HIS face (above all others) and turn from OUR wrongful ways. Then God will shower His grace upon us. What if this is a test about how WE respond? It might just be about us and our responses and our leadership – not who we attack or support. I am not blaming us for the state we are in, but I am saying we are part of the solution. As we pray, praise and worship, fear and anger will be dispelled and our eyes will be drawn upwards. Thank You, Lord!
So let us shine on and do not let our hearts be distressed – let us use our words to stir one another to love and good works – and good words – that inspire belief and hope in God, and so much the more as we see the darkness seeking to rule.
Let us cease firing, cease striving, and know that He is God, yes, even over this election.