The Silver Lining in the 2016 Elections
More than three weeks have passed since the 2016 elections ended, and Donald Trump became President-Elect of the United States. And it has been a vitriol-fueled ride. Supporters from both sides of the election have experienced hate. Riots, violence, hate speech and protests continue. In January, Trump will inherit a country rumbling with unprecedented levels of dissatisfaction.
We can, of course, return hate for hate, anger for anger. We can remain paralyzed in shock. We can choose to dismiss the validity of perspectives that are different from our own. We can choose to condemn. We can even “spiritualize” the argument, speculating and assuming that God is on our side only, the right side.
I don’t need to tell you, my brothers, that these lingering attitudes in our country do not profit anyone long-term. There may be short-term benefits like feeling smarter or better than those whose views differ from mine. I may feel that I am right … even righteous. But Jesus said: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32)
It troubles me that some Christians would doubt another believer’s belief in God because of their political choices.
Throughout this post-election season, I’ve had to restrain myself from arguing out of my own sense of self-righteousness. I’ve had to restrain myself from lashing out in anger toward what I perceived to be close-minded and self-righteous views. I’ve had to restrain myself from projecting my own problems onto the leaders and the proponents of both sides.
Instead, I’ve had to dare to believe that other people might have a point. I’ve had to grow the courage to believe someone else might be right also.
Jesus presented His political platform. When Pilate asked Him if He was King of the Jews, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews.” We are to fight for Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven, but how?
Paul reminded Titus to “Honor the Emperor” (And Nero was far from the Christian ideal). This is a high call —“love your enemy”-type stuff. Paul says to pray for all authorities and institutions and that “…there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1).
The Holiest of Holies remains on the throne, regardless of who the President of the United States is. God is in charge. That’s truth. Clinging on to these assurances amidst the ongoing vitriol, I have been listening. In my silence, I have found freedom, love, and peace. I’ve learned to engage with less passion and more compassion.
You see, this election season has challenged me. In order to find that peace within myself and with others, I have to understand more. We are called not to win arguments, but to love. Perhaps this political season presents us with an opportunity to love our neighbor as ourselves.
“If what we know about ourselves—our history, our culture, our national identity—both as individuals and as Americans—is fractured….Such a self lacks access both to itself and to the world” (William Pinar, 1993).
Though the election has brought out the ugliest in many, it could also bring out the best. As Crucible Project men who aspire to be more Christlike, what can we learn from this season, the condition of our own hearts and how can we model Christ in the way we relate to others?
Some questions to ponder:
- How have you responded to the election?
- What is your political response really about? How is it really about you?
- How has the election changed you?
- In what area of your life do you need to be more open and flexible?
- What keeps you from listening and loving those who are different?
- In what area, do you need to be more forgiving?
By Marc Mantasoot
Marc completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2004 and graduated from our two-year transformational program in 2008. He wants to help others pursue their God-given joy and free the world of ego. He is an award-winning poet, writer, small groups/discipleship coach, high school English teacher and martial arts trainer. He provides powerful methods for life transformation at marcmantasoot.com. His greatest joys: Creating scenes with his son, lining up My Little Ponies with his baby girl, and pursuing his irresistible wife.
Photo Credit: PBS Newshour