Well, it is over. But in many ways, it is just starting. I am not just talking about the election and the beginning of the Trump administration. I am referring to the division we see in families, churches, and neighborhoods. This election season has not so much caused but revealed the deep divide in our nation that has been simmering under the surface. This divide takes many forms – racial, economic, gender-based, religious, and political. Yet, whatever the form, it shows us not just what is in our country, but what is in our own hearts.
My heart grieves for those who are now fearful and confused. Some of these fears are legitimate and others are the result of people with loud voices/blogs/podcasts/media empires on both the right and the left who greatly benefit financially if such divides exist. Causing division is big business! My heart is saddened by the many, again on both the right and the left, who feel that they are forgotten (even invisible), without a voice, and without a champion to further their cause.
I must give a word of clarification. There always will be division. There must be. Jesus, Himself said, “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” Jesus, who is Light and Truth and Love, will always be separated from that which is dark, and false and unloving. If we are followers of Christ, so will we. There is no place for compromise and a squishy, weak unity based on empty platitudes. But standing for truth is not the same as being a jerk. Pride and selfishness always divides in a way that makes reconciliation impossible. Light, Truth and Love may rightly divide, but they can also change darkened, deceived and hateful hearts.
I hear and read many voices saying many different things. Some of what is said is valid. Much of what is said is a mixed bag of truth and falsehood. Many words are nothing but emotion. Some are emotionless and unsympathetic. As I attempt to add my own voice to the cacophony of opinions out there, I realize I don’t have much to say. I certainly don’t have anything to say that hasn’t been said before. I don’t have a large and influential voice that will somehow change the tide of public opinion. But hopefully my words can make a difference to one person – myself.
- I need to remind myself to be slow to speak, and quick to listen. I wrote a blog post about this entitled, “Slow to Speak,” where I go into greater detail concerning this. Please take a few minutes and review my humble opinion. 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 1:19-20 ESV). Could it be that we have so much anger because everyone is talking, but no one is listening?
- I need to tell myself that when I do speak, I MUST always do so in love. Even when I am right and when I am speaking truth, I should never use the truth as a club to beat someone into submission so I can win the argument. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (Ephesians 4:15 ESV).
- I need to be careful with whom I am aligned. If I am a Christ-follower, the very reputation of Jesus Christ is at stake. I need others to see my allegiance to Jesus, or else I will be seen as someone else’s pawn. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4 ESV)
- Jesus cares about all this craziness and confusion and deeply loves us crazy and confused people, even if we have rebelled against His loving and deserved rule over us. He has the answer – Himself! … but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 ESV)
- Just as God is love and love motivates all that God does, I am to love. I am to love God and my neighbor. Even my enemy! A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34 ESV). Love does not mean I will stay silent to not offend those set in their ways. I am to love my neighbor enough to share the love and the truth of Jesus with them, even if I risk losing their positive opinion of me. If I love them in Jesus’ Name, I risk that they might divide from me because of Jesus in me. But may they never be divided from me (and maybe even from Jesus) because of my unloving/proud/arrogant attitudes, words, and actions.
I guess I do have some things to say after this election. I hope I listen.