Influenza did me in before the election. For four straight days, I was literally sick and tired. When not sleeping, which wasn’t often, I just prayed. I prayed for my health. I prayed for my family and friends. I prayed for our country and our leaders. In fact, I’ve never prayed so earnestly about the presidency of our country than I prayed in those four bedridden days. How would I vote?
I wrestled. I waffled.
Before I got sick, I thought I might suffer paralysis of analysis from reading and listening to so many perspectives all along the political spectrum. In the end, I made a decision.
I finally got out of bed to go vote. As I colored my chosen oval in black, I prayed God’s will would be done, even if that meant someone other than the name next to my mark would be chosen for the office Oval.
And then, my husband drove me and our eighteen-year-old son back home. I went back to bed, still sick but at peace. I prayed for our country again before drifting off to sleep. I more than half expected to wake and find Hillary Clinton our newly elected president.
The reality took awhile to register. And then I thanked God, believing He allowed the outcome. Because He did allow the outcome. And I had decided that regardless of who would win, I would thank God. Why? Because this is truth . . .
No leader holds their position without God’s permission.
We may not have personally chosen our president. We may not even like our president. But we need not fear and we ought not shame. God has his own platform and policy. His will WILL be done, regardless of who’s at the helm of a nation.
This I know. In this, I rest.
However . . .
As I rested in bed, I thumbed through my social media feeds, ablaze with lament, angst and anger. And my own lament began.
I lamented the division, especially among Christians.
Words have been flying through cyberspace, through social media and op-eds. The tenor of the commentaries concerns me.
Since when has name-calling, sarcasm, put-downs and cut-offs become proper Christian thoughts words and deeds just because we don’t like a person’s political persuasion?
God wills us to love and respect all in thought, word and deed even when—especially when—we disagree. So if we’re going to put-down and cut-off, lets put down and cut off the shaming. Let’s put down and cut off the look-down-our-nose blaming, thinking we’re smarter-than and holier-than. Let’s stop playing God and start loving God by loving and respecting all God’s beloved, even while rejecting godless thoughts, words and deeds.
And let’s never, ever forget . . .
We all have our flaws. But we are not flaws.
God doesn’t condone deplorable thoughts, words and deeds. Neither should we. But let’s be careful we don’t become stone-throwers. Let’s remember we are all prone to sin. We all fall short of the glory of God. We have no right to use shame as a weapon.
Shame is a boomerang that burns with the tongue-flames of hell (Matthew 5:21-22).
So when we are out there in the world talking about the necessity to be loving and respectful towards all people and we’re demanding inclusivity and equality for all people, we need to begin with ourselves. Love and respect yourself. Love and respect all people even when you don’t agree. We are all diminished when we diminish even one. We are all stronger together.
Let’s be salt and light, not poisonous plants. Let’s unify for good, not form a circular firing squad, thinking any of us have a monopoly on compassion and truth.
Now is the time to unite and fight against the real enemy of our country, our world, our souls. Let’s humble ourselves before God and make use of His perfect provision, given in His word . . .
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth, buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.