Despite all the other uncertainties regarding the elections tomorrow, one thing can be counted on– 40-50% of the people who vote won’t have their candidate win, and another 40-60% of people who vote will have their candidate win. And as people pray that their candidate will win, and that their oppornents candidate will lose, I hope we will also pray for love and understanding, selflessness kindness and hopefulness.
Its easy to get pretty caught up in the passion of this election. We have some close friends who say Obama is Hitler (yes, that is a quote) because Obama supports ‘national socialism’ they say, and plenty who say nasty things about Romney because of his business dealings. It seems that there are no limits or rules regarding what can be said about your political opponents when you dislike or fear them.
Some pastors are preaching in favor of Obama (sometimes inciting racial differences), other pastors are preaching in favor of Romney (even explaining that the Bible says that government should not be involved in healthcare…?…)
It is good to be an involved caring passionate public citizen. Its not good to demonize those who disagree with you and to villify those who have different opinions than you do, or who have different priorities or values.
There are (really) Christians who argue for an against both candidates– and who feel that it is quite difficult to be an authentic Christian and vote for the other side. Its common to say that the ones on the other side are not really voting with Christian values, but rather, with a political ideology that goes against Biblical principles. I have heard that argument from people in either camp.
Talk radio and newsreporters aren’t focused on helping maintain unity and civility in our behavior in the face of the election results. We Christians need to act in a countercultural way and resist the temptation to think the sky is falling, or to gloat if in fact our favorite carries the day. The way this election affects us and the civility of our country depends a whole lot on ‘us’– how we respond. It doesn’t matter if you are on the winning or losing side, whichever side you end up on tomorrow night (or wednesday morning) we know as Christians that there are certain ways we should respond– with patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, self-control. Of course these are the ways we should have carried on all election as well…
We can’t expect non-Christians to act in this strange sort of way– with generous kindness and humility– but if Christians don’t, its really a poor witness of the love of Christ. The election gives us as Christians a great opportunity to be people of hope and faith. If our favorite loses, we trust that God is in control, will bring goodness to us and all, and will provide for what we need. But we can also respond with humility and kindness towards those ‘we’ lost to– a difficult bridgebuilding act if ever there was one. If our favorite wins, we can be thankful for that, but we also have opportunity to act with reconcilliation towards others, with gracious mercy and kindness.
So more than praying for one candidate to win tomorrow, I am praying for kindness and reconcilliation in the wake of tomorrows results, and asking God’s forgiveness for the ways we villify each other in the name of Christ.
May God have mercy on us all.
Examples of the villification from both sides: