Thoughts on "The Election"

Are you tired of hearing about "The Election"?

Me, too. 

Tired of hearing not only the pundits banter on and on about what it all means but also the everyday folks pontificate the ups and downs for our country come January.

Enough already.

This blog is not that at all. Not about why who won and who lost and what that says about the electorate and what ramifications we can expect.

Instead, I have some thoughts regarding the response of people to the election.  Specifically, the response of Christ-followers. For those that don't know Christ, they can act any way they please but
for those of us who profess to know Him, well, we don't have the right to act the way some of us are acting. Election or otherwise.

Let me begin with the admonition of James:

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;  for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  James 1:20,21
As I've watched the behavior of my brothers and sisters before, during and after this election season, I have had lots of thoughts I wanted to spew, uh, share. It's not been that I didn't have some opinions - some strong ones, in fact.  But every time I started to blog it, I was restrained by these verses.
Be quick to hear.
Be slow to speak.
Be slow to anger.

So that's what I have tried to heed.

Doing so has helped me process things and  be prepared to walk as a child of the light for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth  Ephesians 5:8,9

Maybe this will encourage you, too.

Be quick to hear.
Other people.  Listen to other people.  Not those who share your same views or convictions or party affiliation. Make it a priority to hear what the "other side" has to say. First. Before you speak,
I'll be honest - I didn't care for either presidential candidate. And I wanted to rant and rave about both of them, just like lots of folks around me. Before, during and after the votes were tallied.
Sometimes I did just that but more and more I found it most helpful not to do that. But rather to listen. First.
To hear the fears and the angst. To listen to the hopes and the heart. To be attentive to the feelings and opinions of people that differ from my own.

I learned a lot.

Be slow to speak.
I can only do this if I am busy listening in order to hear.
Too many times, we are not really hearing but rather just waiting for a break in the conversation so we can have our turn to speak.
Not helpful.
Being slow to speak is helpful. though. Slow to share what we think is so important. Slow to speak aloud the thoughts forming in our mind. Slow to vent the emotions that well up inside when we disagree with what we are hearing.

A lot of pain and brokenness could be avoided if we would be slow to speak. Sometimes our thoughts need to change before we release them into the air. And being slow to speak gives that process a chance to happen.

That's why I waited to blog about the election. I needed to be slow about speaking.

Be slow to anger.
The anger of Christians during this whole season has grieved me. And it has been widespread. From people who took all sorts of positions regarding this casting and tallying time.
Anger over who has been in charge.
Anger over who is going to be in charge.
Anger over whether or not we should even care who's in charge!
Anger directed at people for having a different opinion or goal.
Anger that accuses and divides and shatters.
Anger that is decried by Scripture because it does not achieve God's plan of righteousness (James 1:21) and in fact, is equated with murder. (Matthew 5:21,22)  Yes, murder.

Anger is so dangerous because it is rooted in pride. The mindset that says "my thoughts are so much  better and more important than yours that I insist you change yours to line up with mine". And when that doesn't happen, anger results.

So, given the admonition of James, what are my thoughts about how we should respond? Not my original thought but Chuck Swindoll expresses it so well in a sermon decades ago that I'll borrow it from him:
Nobody act big.
Nobody act small.
Everybody act medium.

Nobody act big.
Whatever your position on the election was or is, don't act big about it. In other words, don't be a jerk. Not smug if your side "won" or indignant if your side "lost" or self-righteous if you didn't take a side. Don't act as though you are better or more important than someone who differs from you.
Because you're not.
So zip your lips and act like a gracious winner/loser/spectator. Refer once more to James on the hearing and speaking part.
And just a word of caution or encouragement, whichever applies to your case - this new administration is not likely to be as drastically conservative as promised. Conduct yourself accordingly.

Nobody act small.
The fear reaction has been what has shocked me. Remember now, this post is for Christians.  I am not shocked by any reaction of non-Christians. But the fear from my fellow believers has positively shocked me. Don't we know who rules and reigns? Not the winner of any election! Gracious me!

The fear of what might happen now or what could be the fallout. Fear from remarks made by people around them and fear of potential perception. Are you kidding me? If the "losing side" had expressed such fear (or anger) in the previous elections, accusations of racism would have flown faster than a speeding bullet. But this time, the fear response is to be pitied and coddled, even seen as noble. Gracious me. We are not to fear!

So don't fear and don't fuel the fear of those around you, especially the children.
And while I am ranting about not acting small, that includes the smallness of prejudice and unkindness. Don't act that way.

Everybody act medium.
The definition of pride is not only thinking too much of yourself, it's also thinking of yourself too much. Self-focus. That's pride. Acting too big or too small - that's pride.
I would explain "acting medium" as Philippians 2:4 "Do not merely look out for your own personal interests but also the interests of others".  The perspective God wants us to have is certainly not arrogance but neither is it self-deprecation. This verse tells us that it is reasonable to look out after our own interests...just not at the exclusion of the interests of others. Loving our neighbor as we love ourselves..because, whether we admit it or not, whether we are aware of it or not, we do love ourselves. We protect our own hearts, our own interests, our own preferences and Scripture is exhorting us not to do so at the expense of others.
Act medium.
Not boastful or presumptuous or angry.
And not fearful or pathetic or weak.

And, as the prophet of Daniel did so long ago, let us bless the God of Heaven:
Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. And it is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings (and presidents) and establishes kings (and presidents); He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness and the light dwells with Him. To Thee, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise
Daniel 2:20-23