My house is peacefully quite this Wednesday morning. I’m watching the chilly November sun rise as I am warmed by a fuzzy blanket, a big cup of coffee, and my worn out Bible in my lap. This serenity is threatened by every pop up notification on my phone and the small itching in me to hop on social media or TV to let in all the chaos of the last few months, weeks, and days. For now, I’ll keep swiping away every notification and thought exchanging them for a prayer in order to remain in the peace that is flooding me this morning.
Perhaps I am naive to think this, but this has seemed to be one of the most tumultuous elections I can remember. People are not just for their candidate’s policies, but are against the other candidate’s character and the character of those voting for the opposite party. This applies to both Republicans and Democrats. No matter what camp you’re in, mild apocalyptic feelings come with the opposite party winning. Regardless of who wins this election, some people will be horribly upset.
So where do we go from here?
I cannot answer this for the non-Christian. My answer is based on the character of God and the living, breathing word of God. I believe in the Bible and outside of the Bible there is plenty of evidence we can take God for who He says He is and trust that the Bible is true. From this, we gain guidance and comfort.
We trust that God is sovereign.
I think part of what shakes us so much during this time is the unknown. Who will be president? Who will have the majority in the house and senate? What will this mean for us? We often clamor for control because the lack of it faces us with the unknown. This is why voting our morals is so important, yet it guarantees us nothing.
Yet, this election results were never unknown to God. God is omniscient. He is all knowing. He knows what has happened in the past, knows what will happen in the future, and knows what might happen happened if people freely chose different and situations were different. The election results won’t shake Him. He foresaw the results. In Isaiah 40:28, it says, “No one can measure the depths of his understanding.” Even if the concept of God’s omniscient is difficult for us to grasp, it isn’t difficult for Him to do.
Beyond that, God is sovereign and predestines all. In Isaiah 46:9-10, God states, “Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there’s none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.” In Roman 13:1, we see that God appoints those in authority. “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” While we use our libertarian free will to cast our vote, God knew who we would vote for before we did. He put each of us here in this world at this time so that we would freely vote into office whomever he already chose to be there.
I’m not going to sit here and pretend to understand why God appoints certain authorities. I am not all knowing. I don’t understand the inner workings of God and how things will play out. But I’m going to trust God even if the one who seems to align closer to Christian values doesn’t get into office. I’m going to trust that there’s something great and bigger going on than what I can understand. And so long as they do not contradict with the ultimate authority and morality of God, I will submit to whoever is in office.
We love one another with true tolerance.
As I said above, we’ve stopped arguing policies and started attacking character. This is a poor debate style and exactly opposite of what we as Christians are called to do. While character does impact policies, and there is a time and place to call out the sin in other Christians in love, I don’t believe we are making our point well if we instead of attacking the abortion or civil rights issue, we are attacking someone personally. In Matthew 5:22, Jesus warns us against personal, verbal attacks on others. By all means, we should stand up for biblical morality, but we cannot do so by trampling others.
Jesus told us after loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind, the next biggest thing we must do is to love our neighbor as ourself. (Mark 12:29-31) Jesus meant for us to love each other in a 1 Corinthians 13 type of way. A love that is patient and kind. One that is not jealous, proud, rude, selfish, irritable, bitter, or injust. A love that endures in faithfulness, hopefulness, and in all circumstances. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) This is how we are to love our neighbor. The candidate they voted for doesn’t make us love them more or less. We are to love them aggressively with the very love of God Himself in us. We are to love them regardless of whether or not we agree with them simply because they are human beings created in the image of a mighty God. We are to love them as we with to be loved.
Just because we love them doesn’t mean we agree with them. Tolerance has taken on a new meaning these days. Traditionally it meant that just because people disagreed, one wouldn’t persecute the other because of their beliefs. In a more modern sense, it’s morphed into affirming opposite beliefs. You might hear one say, “just because that isn’t right for me, doesn’t make it wrong for you. That’s great for you!” This new definition of tolerance moves is into the dangerous waters of moral relativism. There are no objective truths here, only subject. Yet, as Christians, we believe in objective truth and morality. We believe that is comes from God alone so there are distinct right and wrong. We can disagree with the wrong someone is doing or believes in while still loving them. This is exactly what we should do.
The traditional saying of “love the sinner, hate the sin,” while sometimes grinds against us (generally because we identify with our sin) and isn’t something I’d always advocate to say to others we disagree with, rings true today. We are to love fiercely all people. We don’t have to affirm their every belief or action to do this. We are to simply love all while clinging to God’s truth.
This is such an odd year. Uncertainty has floated through the air like smoke. Yet, of this we can be sure: God is still on the throne. Nothing has been uncertain for Him this year. All is known and predestined. While this may not make sense to us, we know His purposes are still good and holy. Part of His purpose that we can take part in is genuine love for each other. We need love every year, but maybe a little extra this year. So let us as those who find peace in God spread the love of God which cuts through the uncertainty.