- Don’t gloat. If your candidate won, your candidate won. Do not forget that by some estimates 60% of the people who voted for the winner did so more out of hatred for the loser, not because they thought the winner was a great candidate. Both candidates had historically high unfavorable ratings. There was no “winner” in this election, only a “victor.” History has shown us that those who do not respect and embrace the voice of the losing minority – especially when it represents nearly half the country – risk losing the power they fought so hard to attain by the very next election.
- Don’t whine. If your candidate lost, your candidate lost. Like it or not, your neighbor just sent you (and the rest of the country) a soul-piercing message with their vote. You may not like that message, but you would do well not to ignore it. Now it is time to move on, to engage in constructive dialogue with your neighbor, and do the hard labor of pursuing your passions for your causes without whining or complaining. The job of winning converts to your cause just became monumentally more difficult due to the viciousness of this campaign.
- In every meeting and in every conversation, be gracious in speech and deed. No matter how difficult it may seem at the time, hold your tongue (and your keyboard) when provoked. Elevate your rhetoric above the rancorous partisan divide and do everything in your power to seek common ground before battleground. Ask questions and seek understanding before demagoguery. Leave demagoguery for the politicians and instead reach out to people you don’t understand or to whom you do not relate so you can understand them better.
- Live your life according to the guidance of Scripture, not our perverse, repugnant, Reality TV culture. Re-read Romans 12, Micah 6:8, Galations, James, 1 Corinthians, Matthew 5-7. Take your pick. The Bible is full of guidance for how we can live our lives as salt and light to a dark, craven world. Do not put false hope in those who, by the evidence of their life’s work and their words, do not share your faith. Do not let your steadfast commitment to the hard work of a life in Christ become watered down as the powerful and mighty tickle your ears with words that may sound appealing, but ultimately lead to destruction.
- Seek the wise counsel of other Christ-followers, diligently pursuing fellowship with those who would hold God up for the world to see and who embrace their own brokenness at the foot of the cross. Seek out and bond with earnest believers, whether you understand their political bent or not. Build fellowship up within the church, becoming of one mind in Christ even if we are not of one mind in politics.
- Look in the mirror and be ready to take accountability when you use rhetoric that you know is intended to inflame, not defuse. If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit is your guide, pricking your conscience when you are about to open your mouth and launch a crushing salvo. Yes, there is a time for inflammatory rhetoric. There is also a time for words that bring peace. The Bible makes it clear that all who call on the name of Jesus Christ will face attacks and abuse for our commitment to God and holy living. Let’s be certain we are not attacked and abused simply because we brought it on ourselves out of arrogance, fear-driven hatred, or selfish ambition. Save your inflammatory rhetoric for the times when it is need most; for when the marginalized are further marginalized by a society steeped in fear and suspicion, for when the poor are made poorer by those who could not care less, for when the weak are discarded because they cannot contribute as much as the strong, for when the powerful are falsely lauded to curry their favor, and for when the humble are ignored because they choose to seek God’s power over the power of man.
- PRAY! PRAY without ceasing, seeking a heart molded and crafted by Christ, lifting up the name and person of Jesus Christ so high that you become a mere speck in the background and all that remains is His heart and His presence.
November 9, 2016
by Steve Pearl