It is Election Day, and it seemed appropriate to start this post off with some stars and bars since I'm offering a brief political download. I've been very bothered, as I'm sure many of you have, by the acidity of these past few months. Election seasons can be extraordinarily divisive (especially this one!) and bring out the absolute worst in people. Nasty, angry, insulting, offensive thing are said (and posted) with little thought of their ripples. Relationships are hurt, small children are made to cry, and yet the rancor continues until FINALLY there is an election to put it all to rest. For about three years. Then we do it all again (WHY??).
It's no wonder, then, that when the dust settles on Election Day, unity is the farthest thing from anyone's mind. It is very difficult for two sides to turn around and work together after people have been behaving wretchedly, speaking to each other preposterously, tearing each other's ideals down intentionally and relentlessly, for months. And if we cannot even be civil to each other, if we cannot even exchange ideas in a way that is productive and recognizes that we all want the same thing (a better America), then how can we possibly go about the business of actually solving the country's very real problems?
This tension in government, in politics, and the operation of civil society in general is not a new or uniquely American problem. No, there is a reason that nearly 2000 years ago, the apostle Paul wrote the following in I Timothy 2:1-3:
"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, and intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people--for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior."
Wise words, and I've gleaned from them the following resolutions which, though apropos for every day, I have dubbed my "Political Resolutions:"
- I will assume positive intent in people who think differently than me
- I will treat as urgent the business of blessing others
- I will bless (and not curse) all people, even when I fundamentally disagree with them
- I will pray for my leaders, even when I think they are going the wrong direction; especially then
- I will remember that I must pray for all people, all leaders, because God has a reason for putting all people exactly where they are. (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28)
- I will remember that these things are good and please God because they are elementary to the commandment that I love my neighbor, which is second only to the commandment that I love my God. (Mark 12:29-31).