Eight. Eight days. Only eight more days. Just eight more. If you browse the Internet (I don’t think I need to explain how I know you do…), watch television, have friends, or just step out your front door,then you know that eight days from now is November 6, 2012. Election day. If you know that, then you also know November 6th will be a monumental day for our nation. And not just because we’ll stop being harassed by annoying campaign adds, but because America will select a president, whether he is already Commander in Chief, or new to the office.
I’ve been planning this blog post for about a month now, trying to figure out exactly how I wanted to approach this. Should I discuss what ten weeks (!!!) of Political Science class has taught me? This may be the first presidential election I’ll be voting in, but I’ll admit it’s the first time I’ve been really informed about not only the candidates, but also how the government works in general. Or maybe I should promote the candidate I’ll be voting for? Because every vote counts. Or should I point out why the other candidate just needs to, frankly, lose?
I’ve wrestled with those topics and a combination of them over the past few weeks, but I finally decided to take a different route. And yes, depending on who reads this, this post will be seeped in controversy. But something has to be said.
So—deep breath—here we go.
First, I’ve watched the debates. I’ve also heard countless discussions and watched my Facebook news feed as people react to what’s being broadcast.
And it breaks my heart.
I know (believe me, I know) how frustrating the debates (and candidates) can be. I also have very strong political ideologies and values, and what the candidates say doesn’t always line up with my beliefs. I’m guilty of making snarky comments concerning candidates and becoming angry when people just don’t seem to get how big of a deal this all is.
But what leaves me with a hurting heart is when we (I’m so guilty of this!) as Christians seem to forget what we’re all about.
One verse that’s been running through my head this election season is Ephesians 4:29-32. It’s like a slap to my prideful self.
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
I don’t know about you, but I’m very guilty of not living up to this sometimes. And not just around election season.
I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that Jesus died for all of us: Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Socialists, Liberals, Conservatives, etc, etc, etc. Because we’ve all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) and we all need a Savior. He wants all of us to know Him.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” –2 Peter 3:9.
I’m not saying I agree with everything going on in the political world. By no means. And I’m not saying I don’t care who wins the election, because I know we’ve got an obligation to stand for what’s right and vote accordingly. But as I’ve tossed these verses around in my mind, I’ve noticed my heart softening for those in a different party than me. So yes, maybe they’re wrong about stuff, but God desires for them to know Him just as much as He wants a relationship with me. I’ve also done things that go against what He wants for my life. When I think of that, it’s like, how can I possibly smack-talk about these people who are wanting to lead our country? They’re real people, and they were created with a purpose, too.
If I sound preachy, it’s because I’m preaching to myself. I’m trying to absorb and apply God’s Word to my life, even though sometimes it’s about as comfortable as swallowing pins.
But here’s what else I’m doing: I’m praying. I’m learning to spend time on my knees, praying for God’s will in our nation. No matter what the election results are, I know one thing: God always has the final say. Always. He is still God, no matter who is the leader of the free world, and He’s not confined by our government. Besides, who other than the Creator can even begin to fix whatever mess we get ourselves into? He’s in control, and that makes all the difference.
So let’s pray His Spirit will stir within us and our nation as we barrel towards next Tuesday. May others see Jesus in us.
In His love,