The election is now over and I am at a loss for many words. I am not at a loss because of any political party or because the candidate who won, won. I am not offended because ‘progress’ might be threatened, and I am not in distress because of some of the remarks of the president elect. No, I hurt in the deepest parts of my heart because the American people, my brothers and sisters in this great nation, have proven to be more divisive and more hateful toward one another. While the Democratic Party fought for love, when it lost four days ago, many who backed that party began rioting and many more made so many hateful comments. While the Republican Party fought to make all people equal, when it won four days ago, many who backed the party began asserting some sort of perceived dominance and even started being hateful toward those with views different from them.
I weep because this divisiveness has proven, in the last four days, to not be the problem of the government or of a single political party. It is a problem of the people. We have forgotten how to love. Sure, we proclaim it with our mouths. While we preach love, though, we threaten those who do not have the same definition of love or equality that we hold. Simply put, we are better than this on every side.
I want you, my brothers and sisters, to hear me loud and clear. No matter who you voted for, I love you and will continue to serve you no matter your political views. As people of God, many Christians have forgotten that Christ is King: Christ and no one else. Scripture commands our submission to worldly governments (Romans 13) and also commands us to, when all others are being foolish, do good (1 Peter 2). What I think we forget is that this nation gives its citizens so much privilege that we actually have the right to vote and to petition the government that we elect. The government is by the people and that was proven on Tuesday because, despite what we think, the president elect was at a disadvantage until the people made their voice heard. What this means is simple. When there is dissension in the ranks of our government or when there is a failure to make bipartisan efforts, it is only an indication of the dissension that is deeply rooted in the people. Division in the ranks of the government is, in our case, only a symptom of division in our land.
I deeply hope that Mr. Trump will be a good president. While I hope that he will execute the office of president well, I know that he does not have the power to bring healing to this nation. He is not going to determine whether or not racism will reign. He is not going to determine whether or not we will hate one another based on differences in our values. He will not determine whether or not we will be willing to work or be willing to come together. No president has these powers. This is a power that only belongs to the people. We have all of the responsibility and for the most part, we have chosen hate. It is not forced upon us. It is not shoved down our throats. It is a choice that the American people have made and I am offended on both sides. If an election tears us apart, then hate was already present on both sides.
Here is my challenge and I am going to make this quick. We all need to search our hearts and figure out whether or not we will love one another, or whether we will continue to bring more and more disunity to this nation. It is not the power of the president. It is the power and responsibility of the people.
As for me, no matter what you decide, I will love and serve. Even if you choose to persecute me, I will love and serve you. Even if I do not agree with you, I will love and serve you. Yes, I will speak out about what I think is right (we all should); but I will love and serve. As much as it depends on me, I resolve now to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).
This, ultimately, is the conversation we had with our church body before the election. We talked about how the president is not Christ. We live to worship Christ. Therefore, no matter who the president is, we live under Christ, for Christ and to Christ. There is no other way to live with meaning. We committed, together, to love others no matter who they voted for and no matter what values they have. We stand against sin, which necessarily means we stand for people as Christ stood for people (even sacrificing Himself on our behalf). This is how we are able to place our own preferences and our own wants aside so that we can truly love others and lead them to Christ.
We stand, therefore, as one; not rioting in the streets as if to fulfill our own preference, not speaking condemnation on others as if we actually have the authority to do so, not regressing to baseless name calling as if we took the time to understand those whose positions differ from our own, and not abandoning our brothers and sisters because they voted differently than we did. We stand, instead, to champion the needs of others, to act with genuine mercy and grace, to protect the freedom we have to speak and to vote, and to raise one another up even if it means giving up a little. The recent election means nothing when it comes to the character we will have and the people we will be. I only ask this: that we strive to be good to one another.