It’s not news to anyone that this election cycle was divisive and difficult.
What’s a Christ-follower to do in the wake of it?
Over the past few days I’ve been quietly absorbing news and internet links from Facebook friends. I’ve read comments from friends on both sides of this divide alternately mourning and defending their positions, even casting stones at each other, and somehow this post-election week seems just as volatile as the pre-election week. I’ve seen teacher-friends sharing posts from other teacher-friends about the palpable fear present in minority students especially. I’ve read series of tweets that share appalling stories of people who have been mistreated or assaulted with hateful words in the days since Donald Trump has been elected president. I’ve seen images, in towns I know, of public property defaced with offensive white supremacist nonsense. Hateful hearts have used the president elect as an excuse to tear down and terrify.
What do we do with all of that? Sit by? Ignore it? Tribalize us against them? Point fingers at opposing political parties? Or stand up, stand in the gap—perhaps literally, should we see it with our own eyes or hear it with our own ears. Whether we are entrenched in the pain or a degree removed, our call is the same.
What is a Christ-follower to do in the face of it all?
First, let us not turn a blind eye to pain and suffering, fear and hate. Let us not turn aside and rationalize it, or pretend that such darkness has not been emboldened this week.
And then let us do what Christ has always called us to do: to love.
Maybe it sounds too cliché. But it is not.
Real Christian love has never been about greeting card sentiments or magnanimous feelings. It has never been about loving only our friends and family—or political party. It’s about loving even our enemy.
It is sacrificial.
It is radical.
It is gritty, leaving comfort behind and stepping into the hard places. Entering the brokenness and bringing healing and peace.
It is the selfless Samaritan kind of love, the one that sets aside its own plans and schedule, reaches across barriers—ethnic, political, religious—to literally heal and bind wounds. Let’s not be the religious zealots who walk right past the broken and hurting.
Psalm 82:3-4 is a cry to God asking Him to move on behalf of society’s most vulnerable. So many other verses tell us that these are the exact things God does. Should it not be part of the heartbeat of His body the Church?
“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
That is not a political statement, nor a debate about extent it is the government’s job—it is a reminder to the Church that these things, as the body of Christ, are OUR job. Whether the government chooses to legislate these things or not, it has historically been a mandate of the Church, and moreover, the outpouring of a truly alive Church.
Brothers and sisters, in this context I don’t care who you voted for, I don’t care how you feel about this election. But I do care about how you feel about the weak and the vulnerable in our society, in your community. Even more, I care about how you engage and love the weak and vulnerable. How you love as an active part of your life, not some vague feeling or idea.
Let’s use this volatile time to look inward, invite the Holy Spirit to open our eyes, and ask this question of ourselves: What am I doing with my life that reaches into the broken and vulnerable places and lives in my community? Am I embracing a mere sentiment of love, or perhaps standing on a soapbox talking about it, or am I picking up my cross, denying myself, and following Christ into the midst of pain? Can any individual fix every wrong, heal every wound? Of course not. But if the Church today takes seriously this call to radical love, to be the physical body of Christ to a splintered and broken world, the world will be a different place—physically and spiritually.
Let us not love in words or speech but with actions and in truth.
I John 3:18