Political Fallout~

 

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As Americans we have been blessed to have the freedom to choose our government leadership based on our values and beliefs. We are so fortunate to have this right. However, the politics in this season of the United States have become divisive, angry, and relationally polarizing.   My heart is so sad when I see people behaving so hatefully with one another.

Yes, there are a lot of key issues that create concern and angst in us all; treatment of women, North Korea, a huge polarization between the Democrats and Republicans making it difficult to come to collaborative decision-making to name a few. It can surely be infuriating!

My biggest concern, however, is how people; friends and family members are treating one another. Relationships are being wounded by harmful words and indictments, accusations, and resentment between those who identify more with the Left or those who identify more with the Right ~this is the worst part of the fallout!

Our pastor has been teaching on how to radically love one another; that we can disagree and still love and respect one another! I believe this can be done; especially among those who are Christ followers.   At our core we all want to feel safe, experience peace, be free to have our own thoughts and opinions, to be respected, and to be treated with dignity, ALL of us do no matter how we vote.

Presidents will change, politics will ebb and flow, but the harm done in relationships over our differences will be challenging to repair. Consider whether you have allowed politics to harm relationships that matter to you; can we agree to disagree and still love one another?

 

1 Corinthians 13 The Message (MSG)

The Way of Love

13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

       Let’s choose love.

Raw~

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One the eve of Election Day America is raw.  As a nation we have sloshed through months and months of hurtful, harmful bantering that has left so many weary and blistered emotionally.  We have seen and heard verbal wars consisting of snarky,  shameful comments that even our children should not be privy to.  Many of us have found ourselves saying and posting things that do not present the best version of ourselves but because the “bar” has been set so low by those in leadership, we still look pretty good.  This season has wounded us all in some way and we are raw.

As we walk through the Election week ahead, well, it will be bumpy; no one will really win in the end.  Our nation is so deeply divided that no matter who assumes the presidential seat, we will face the future fractured.  Families, churches, companies, and communities will have those who are grieved by the results while others will celebrate and throw their “win” in the faces of those around them.  No one will really win, we are raw and weary as a nation.

I have sat alone many times over the past year and wondered how I should navigate my own behaviour during this tumultuous season.  I have consoled myself with the thought that government wise ” I didn’t cause it and I can’t fix it”.  However, I have felt God nudging my heart as to what I can impact.

First, I can pray, specifically and in earnest I can pray that God will heal our land as found in 2nd Chronicles 7:14.  I can care enough to set aside time to intercede for the country that I love.

Second, I can vote.  Yes, this year voting has been more challenging than any year in my adult life and yet, my right to vote is a right that was fought for by generations before me and I will honor that right always.

Third, I can be the kind of leader I wish our government would be.  I can be honest, walk with integrity, make good clear choices that will impact those in my life and my community, and I can use diplomatic words of kindness in all that I do to keep the “bar” higher than what I have experienced in our government leadership over that past year.

Fourth and last, I can be kind.  I have the choice to impact my world with kindness, love, inspiration, and the hope that I have found in God.  I can choose to mentor. volunteer, coach, and come alongside those in my community.  I can choose to DO what is right regardless of what our government may or may not do. It’s truly up to me.

We all have a choice to be a beacon of light to the world around us that is just a little raw these days.  Our anger and angst over this election could easily cause us to lose sight of the kindnesses we can show every day.  The rifts between those who believe differently than as us could cause us to miss opportunities to share the good news of hope into a heart desperately in need.   This could be the true church’s finest hour if we remember that we were sent here to be salt and light in trying times, to be a healing balm to a raw generation.

THIS is my challenge for this election week and beyond.  May you be encouraged and challenged in the same way.  May YOU share the hope that is within you. 🙂

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The Election~ yep, I’m going there….

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Imagine a huge earthquake hits the Northwest; buildings collapse, people are injured, food and electricity are sparse, and getting fresh water is an incredible challenge.  I can predict that everyone in every community would attempt to work together, side by side, to care for the needs of those within their reach. I can visualize people opening their homes, sharing what they have, and lending emotional support.   As humans we have a natural tendency to set aside our differences in a crisis.   In a crisis situation the most important focus is helping people regardless of race, gender, income, spiritual beliefs, and yes, even political persuasion.

However, in this heated political season folks with opposing beliefs, are engaging in critical commentary, vicious responses, and fierce accusations between themselves. There is hateful rhetoric flying freely and I am left to wonder, “What’s missing in this season?”

Recently I listened to a great message by Andy Stanley on this very issue and he brought to light what is missing:

The generation that’s coming along behind us are going to take their cue from us. And here’s the cue we’re giving them: ‘Oh my goodness, if we don’t get the right person elected in office, it’s the end of the world. If we don’t fix the economy, it’s the end of the world. If we don’t have religious freedom like my mamma and my grandmama had religious freedom, it’s the end of the world. …

“Nothing could be further from the truth. Government matters. Policies matter. But neither of those matter as much as men and women who understand this word:  Faith

Politics have always been dicey, there’s always been a tiring season of speeches, advertisements, and promises made.  I remember hearing the same things when I was just a little girl  watching the news with my parents. Politics have always created conflict.

My concern is the division we allow it to create in our assumptions that in this process God doesn’t still call us to love people, to speak kindly to others, and to give grace to one another.  I imagine He actually wants us to apply theses things in even greater measure.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.  And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.”Luke 6: 32-34

This is a season for us to remember two things:

  1.  God is still in control.
  2.  People really matter.

Andy Stanley’s final quote was this:

“Republican, Democrat, left or right, we’re all precious in His sight.   This political season is an opportunity for us to showcase our political diversity in a way that honors The God who made us so diverse.  If we get this right, we’ll learn something. We’ll become a more generous and loving people. If we get it wrong, we’ll be an average church.”

How has this political climate affected you? are you anxious? fearful? angry? disengaged? Perhaps it’s time to take a step back, catch your breath, remember how fortunate we are to “get” to make a choice, and choose to trust in God’s promises again.

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

 

 

 

Good Politics

 From the barrage of television ads, to the continual news feed running 24 hours a day on-line, on radio, and in print; Politics are on the forefront of all our minds.

I am so grateful to live in a nation where I been given the freedom to cast my vote for the leader I feel would be best suited for the challenges we are facing in the United States. Our freedom to vote is also a responsibility that I take seriously at both the local and countrywide levels.

However, I have also watched this freedom cause conflict between neighbors, co-workers, family, and even those in our churches. I am left to ponder what God’s perspective might be in the way we express our freedoms.

Romans 13;1 states: “Every person must be subject to the governing authorities, for no authority exists except by God’s permission. The existing authorities have been established by God.”

Philippians 2:1-5 expresses; “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”

In 2 weeks the votes will be cast and we will move forward with whomever has been chosen to lead by this free nation; I pray we will join hands as a country, regardless of our differences, to express passion and care for what we do and for those we have the responsibility to care for.

1 Timothy 2:1-3 expresses this so well; “The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.” ( The Message )