Maintaining Perspective on Election Day
It’s finally here. Even though there’s a reasonable chance we may not know the winner of the presidential election anytime soon, the campaigning ends today. The people have voted, the die is cast, and only lawsuits and protestations remain.
I want to encourage us as kingdom people and stewards of the gospel of grace to maintain the proper perspective regardless of how this day turns out. Here are three truths and three challenges to consider on this election day.
Three Truths We Need to Affirm
1) The new president and his administration will not save our country.
Take a deep breath and say that to yourself a few times. The issues that divide us are not innately political. They are spiritual. Behind the anger and division, we are experiencing competing value systems driven by antithetical beliefs in the fundamental principles that comprise our worldview. Principles such as the natural state of humanity (sinful or good), the nature and existence of God, the meaning of life, the basis for our morality, and how we understand what it means to pursue our own personal happiness. The two political party platforms reflect divergent worldviews on matters of government, social structures, justice and rights. While these appear to be solely political on the surface, behind them is a worldview shaped by these deeper spiritual questions. Whomever takes the oath of office in January, their administration will attempt to better our country by focusing on their platform, with limited capacity to bring about systemic change. In the meantime, the competing worldviews will only deepen until we have revival. There have always been antithetical worldviews in our country and our politics. What has changed is the level of hatred and violence that such disunity has fueled. Regardless of which side ‘wins’, the underlying bitterness will continue, and likely increase. Either one side will defend the continuation of the last four years of policy, or the other side will retaliate for the last four years of policy. Either way, no candidate, no party and no platform will bring healing and hope, because healing and hope are spiritual terms and can only flourish in a spiritually rich culture. And neither side has that vision in their platform
2) The new president and his administration will not destroy our country.
The flip side to #1 is the fear that, “if the other guy wins, the country is going to hell.” Every four years about this time many in the entertainment industry make their proclamations that, “if _________ wins, I am moving to _____.” You can fill in the blanks. If Trump wins, Bruce Springsteen is moving back to Australia, and a Texas billionaire offered to buy one-way tickets to any country for any celebrity that wants to leave the country. Of course, this is a lot of hot air and posturing. If Trump wins, Bruce will still be around, and the guy in Texas’ money is safe. If these threats had any validity, there would be whole cities in Canada made up of fleeing celebrities. There are not. However, it’s easy to overestimate the power of a president and administration. What we see here again are competing worldviews. If we look to the center of existence and see only ourselves, we have some reason for fear. But if we find a sovereign God sitting on the throne of the universe, a God we know in Jesus Christ, then all such talk is laughable. Don’t misunderstand, political platforms are important, and in four years a party’s policies can and will have a significant effect on our culture and our wellbeing. We will be a different country in four years regardless of who wins. The point is, the only way our country is destroyed is if God lifts His hand and gives us over to our own ways and desires. Many think that is happening now. And even if it is, it’s not due to a political party, but because the light of the gospel is disappearing from the hearts, churches and streets of our nation. That’s not a political party’s faulty, that’s ours.
3) People who voted for the ‘other guy’ are still our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Regardless of the outcome of today, please let’s all remember it is Christ that unites us, not a political affiliation. I am greatly disappointed in the stances taken by Christian leaders whom I otherwise admire. I will need to work in my own heart not to let that disappointment spillover into acrimony. I hope to reach out to them after the election and discuss how we can now move forward toward a kingdom agenda, which is what I will discuss next. For now, I pray you will guard your own hearts and not let the enemy use the outcome of an election as a tool of division within the body of Christ.
Three Actions We Need to Take
1) If our guy wins, be sober and retrospective.
Having affirmed these truths, here’s a reality check we all need to accept; both platforms contain views and policies that are antithetical to our kingdom values. Both. If our side wins, I suggest we respond by considering these destructive policies and commit to work to raise our voices in challenge to them. What we cannot and must not do is vote for a flawed party platform, then wash our hands and walk away hoping everything turns out alright. We may celebrate on election night if our guy wins, but we must be sober in the realization that with that win comes baggage that must be confronted.
2) If our guy loses, be rational and hopeful.
Just as both platforms contain policies that are antithetical to kingdom values, so each platform has policies with which we can agree (OK, some of you may need to stretch a little here, but I believe this true). After our initial discouragement with the outcome, if our guy loses, I suggest we look to the platform that is coming and see where we might be able to support and encourage those places where it aligns with our biblical worldview. Instead of throwing out the platform and joining the ‘resistance’, we can support the good in the platform while not shrinking back from speaking the truth against its flaws.
3) Regardless of who wins, be ready to get to work.
It is my contention that regardless of who ‘wins’, the advancement of the gospel in our country will continue to come under attack. The enemy is fortifying his stronghold in the hearts of a growing number of our fellow citizens, and no political agenda will root that out. As I said, the winning platform will contain policies that must be challenged. The undercurrent of godlessness and moral decay will continue. The organized efforts to push religion out of the public sphere will intensify. So, whether you celebrate or mourn tomorrow morning, I encourage you to move quickly beyond that initial reaction and prepare yourself for the battle of your life. We will all need to steward these times with a renewed vigilance, not for the sake of a party or platform, but for the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s the only hope for our nation, and the sooner we move past this election, restore our hope in Christ and Christ alone, and ‘prepare our minds for action’ (1 Peter 1:13), the sooner we can be used by Him for the work of the kingdom as faithful stewards in these chaotic times.
To God be the glory.