Dr. Jon Roebuck, Executive Director
Once again we have the important and rare privilege that our democracy affords us of going to the polls this week and casting our vote. Thank God that we can. And thank God that its nearly over. For almost two years America has been caught up in the rhetoric of partisan politics. We have heard the speeches, watched the debates, listened to the platforms, and formed our opinions. It has been a long, angry, divisive battle. The question becomes where to go from here…
What will happen when the dust clears later this week? What happens when the votes are counted and a winner is proclaimed? Will we stand and celebrate the electoral process and marvel that as Americans we have once again celebrated the peaceful transference of power? Will we shake hands with our political enemies and seek to craft a more perfect union? Maybe… maybe not.
Allow me to suggest some steps to take on the morning of November 9th as the dust starts to clear.
- Put your Christian convictions into practice. In other words, act Christ-like. Think before you speak. Extend compassion in your attitudes. Offer grace. Jesus offered the radical idea of loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us… that includes those on the other side of the political aisle. Refuse to the temptation to write off a friendship because of politics. Christ is not honored by broken relationships. Christians are to be known by their love, not by lingering, divisive attitudes towards those who disagree with them.
- Pray for the new president. Paul writes to Timothy, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior…” (I Timothy 2:1-3) How you pray is critical. Your prayers should be for the health and well-being of the President, for wisdom, and for safety. As a believer, you should offer that prayer consistently.
- If you have been caustically active on social media, you need to ask God to forgive you and apologize to your fellow citizens. Without question social media has given voice to millions with little governance or consequence. Rumors, falsehoods, and opinions quickly became accepted truth. Deceit remains sinful, even if carried out on the internet where people will often say something electronically to someone else that they would never say in person.
- Begin to create a better nation by becoming a better citizen. Volunteer at a non-profit. Give to charities that do important work. Get to know your neighbors. Develop relationships with people who are very different from you… racially, ethnically, religiously, philosophically.
- Be a gracious winner or a good loser. The nation is divided enough. The hostility needs to quieten. No one needs to read one more ugly post from you on Facebook or hear you taunt your conquered foes on Twitter. Take down your yard signs and move ahead. There is work that needs to be done by all of us as Americans. It’s time for us to get back to the concept of the “United” States.
May God help us forge a better nation, a more thoughtful dialogue, and a more civil discourse. It all begins with each of us.