Despite the fevered hype of all the “go vote or else our country is doomed” campaigns, I have good news: your highest Christian duty was not voting yesterday.
So I can say pretty confidently that the results of yesterday’s election are not a “well done, good and faithful servant” commendation or an outcome signaling the end of the world.
It’s been interesting to see the reactions, mostly on social media, some a quick release of emotion, either positive or negative, others more drawn out with a whole subtext of beliefs and assumptions written invisible between the lines.
One theme with a lot of my Christian friends is that, whatever you think about this election, God is still on the throne. This is an incredibly important reminder—our true citizenship is of a different country. We can’t put our hope in America, its leadership, its values, its future.
In some sense, it is enough to say God is in control, to really believe it all the way down till it reaches the shadow fears that lurk in the commercial breaks between news stories and the quiet before you drift into a troubled sleep.
It is enough because God is enough. No matter what happens next, God is enough.
(Rest there for a little bit. Realign your priorities until you can raise yourself up to remember…or just trust that this is true until your emotions catch up. I’ve been in both places.)
But here’s the thing: God uses his church. That’s why I don’t want us to be too quick to assume that trust in the sovereignty of God is the only reminder we need post-election. As James says, “Faith without deeds is dead.”
Here’s what I want to challenge you with today: our government, our president…they don’t have the responsibility to live out Christian values and represent God to the world. We do.
If there are aspects to our next president’s character or platform that don’t align with the heart of Christ (and I think even his supporters can think of some), then let’s choose differently.
Today, I’m asking myself what it would look like if I constantly sought to build others up with my words instead of tearing them down. If I really cared about the poor and oppressed, if I sought to reconcile instead of divide. If I was careful to look at people as individuals instead of causes, if I had the humility to admit when I’m wrong, if I put others and their needs before my own.
Because I often don’t. In some ways, the faults I found in both Trump and Clinton during this election put a mirror to my own heart. Their flaws are mine.
The fact that God is in control becomes an easy answer when we reduce it to a meme or a platitude, when “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” means giving up instead of engaging, when we mourn the brokenness of our political system and not the sin in our own hearts that has kept us from loving God and our neighbor.
I realize some of you are tired, physically from staying up to watch counts and recounts, emotionally from the stress of this whole political season, spiritually because so many things seem broken. This might seem like too much right now.
I realize some of you are excited, confused and maybe irritated by the disappointed reactions of other believers you know to what you consider (even reluctantly) a better outcome. This might seem unnecessary right now.
It’s not too much. We rally past our fears and frustrations for moments like this, as Christians.
And it is necessary. The world is watching to see what the gospel looks like, and we have to tell them it’s not bound up in politics.
It’s the Great Commission and hope in the midst of suffering and purpose for life and the cross, the cross, the cross.
The city on the hill is not America. It’s believers striving to be more like Christ to a world in need.