“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King Jr.
Two days ago, we had our official 2016 election. One day later, the internet exploded with a mix of extreme joy and extreme sorrow. Those who supported our new president celebrated. Those who did not support him mourned—some even going so far as to protest in the streets.
Typically, I try to avoid the topic of politics on my blog. Typically, my articles focus on how we can be more united as the body of Christ in the midst of a changing world. Politics on the other hand, tends to divide. I believe that a person can be a good and faithful Christian from either side of the political spectrum, and that in the big scheme of things, there are way more important things to worry about than who’s in the White House.
Nonetheless, due to the unusual nature of this particular election, I feel led to address it in a way that will hopefully bring more unity than division.
I’m not writing this to endorse Donald Trump. I’m also not writing this to endorse Hilary Clinton. In fact, my first-ever vote went to a third party candidate. But, this post isn’t about that. It’s about unity, and how we can better understand and empathize with each other as a nation. If you are reading this from another country, I encourage you to keep reading. The things that I’m about to write apply to humans in nearly every context of the world.
First off, I don’t believe that the fear some people are dealing with is about this election alone. Many pre-existing wounds of our country have been brought to light in this election, which I believe has created a general atmosphere of fear and distrust. Racially, it seems we’ve hit an all time low that we haven’t seen in decades. Every day that I go to my college classes, I see racial segregation in a way that is both shocking and disheartening. I hear racist comments on a regular basis—people who are literally putting another person down based on the color of their skin. There seems to be a growing insensitively to the feelings and humanity of others, in race, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation, etc. etc. etc.
Second, I believe that we need to do a better job at listening as a country. Stemming off of our general problem of division, we also are not listening to the concerns of others as a population. The Right is catering to concerns about religious freedom and the sanctity of life. The Left is catering to concerns about racial and gender equality. I believe we need all of these things in order to flourish as a society and human race. But, rather than listening to the concerns and fears of people with different concerns than our own, we often villainize them. As a whole, people generally resort to stereotypes rather than risk hearing a real person and their stories and scars. If we’re going to move forward as a country and/or human race, we need to do a better job at listening and caring about the concerns of others—even if they do not directly affect us.
Thirdly, it is up to us as Christians to continue to be a light. Let’s face it, Christians seem to be put in a worse light every day. I believe this is partly the result of living in a corrupt world, but in some cases, we have been to blame, and we must try to do better. As God’s representatives here on earth, it’s our job to show people what God’s love looks like. How can we live out God’s command to “Seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our Lord“? I believe it starts with looking to God and the Bible for guidance. Elections happen once a year, and soon this chaos will be over, but we have a year-long job to show people Jesus’ love. We need to be intentional about encouraging justice.
In order to be Biblical and consistent, we must stand for the lives of the unborn and for the lives of those affected by police brutality.
We must stand for God in the public square and stand up for the rights of those who have been affected by sexual harassment.
We must stand for Biblical ethics and stand for the poor and the homeless.
Just as we have representation in America, we are the representation for something much bigger. We are the representations of God almighty, called to be a light and shine for truth, justice, and mercy.
How we will we live out that representation?
How will we, as Christians in the 21st century, be remembered?