Nov 03, 2016 Words of Grace – Post-Election Grace
Assuming the election next Tuesday is not too close to call, and that there are no legal challenges to the outcome, next Wednesday we will have a new president and congress elect, as well as some new state and local public servants.
Let me say how grateful I am to you as a congregation for how you have related to one another during this election season. We all have our opinions and positions in this political contest. The stakes are high and so are the emotions. I’m sure there have been interactions among us in person and on social media outlets that have not been pleasant. It seems, however, that we have not had relational fall-out from our political differences.
But sometimes the real problems arise after the dust has settled. So what post-election grace do we need at Grace Community Church? Let me encourage you to begin now praying about these things.
1. Let’s resist judgment of others over how they voted. If Christians in Corinth were rebuked for grouping up around certain spiritual leaders and then judging others who were not among them, how much more should we guard against letting our vote in this election be a reason for separation from our brothers and sisters in Christ?
People have their reasons for voting as they do; some are principled, some are political, and some are personal. But with a little effort we can hear their reasons and develop empathy. I have not heard anyone yet say they are voting in order to tear down our country or bring harm to others. Everyone I’ve talked to thinks that their vote is in some way what is best for our country and for people. I may not agree with them, but I understand them to be seeking the good. No judgment for that.
2. Let’s set our minds on the kingdom of heaven. Not judging others for their vote is only part of the way we live together. Seeking first the same reality is the other part. Jesus told us to seek first the kingdom of God.
There is a difference between responsible and idolatrous citizenship. Our earthly citizenship is to be carried out as a way of loving our neighbor and seeking the common good. But when we who belong to heaven live on earth as if the resources for ultimate and eternal hope reside in our politics, we become idolatrous. Earthly citizenship is not the worship of things political. It is the exercise of love and justice in a society that has room for our political involvement.
If we prioritize the kingdom of God, we will live in unity. If we idolize our earthly citizenship, we are likely to divide the church over our differences.
3. Let’s pray for our government officials, whomever they are. I’ve heard many people say that if you don’t vote you can’t complain. That assumes that we are complainers. But we are Christians. Christians are told to do all things without complaining (Philippians 2:14-15). Prayer is what replaces our complaining.
Praying for government officials is not an endorsement of their politics or personal character. We pray for these officials because what they do impacts real people. We pray for them because we want what is good and right for others. And shouldn’t we be praying for, preparing, and encouraging the next generation of public servants?
If we are complaining about our elected officials and an unbeliever walks into our church, will he not go away thinking that our hope is in the government? But if an unbeliever walks into our church and hears us praying, will he not know that our hope is in the Lord?
Let’s pray for God’s guidance and wisdom as Election Day draws near, and grace for the day after.