Greater risk

Carol Reeve, author, Christian

As followers of Christ, our role should be to shine light. Yet many of us have contributed to the deepening of this present election season darkness.

In the venomous culture of spin and blame, it is the responsibility of each of us to seek accurate information to inform our vote. I believe it is also our role to speak truth and challenge one another to exercise our rights prayerfully. But that should be done honorably and with love. We should not assume the worst in each other. We should not assume that because someone is voting for a different candidate that they are “less than” in any way (less spiritual, less intelligent, less loving). Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." I confess that over the last several months I have not loved as I should.

I increasingly believe that the current discord in our nation could have two possible outcomes. If we stay on the current path, our division will fortify walls and deepen trenches within our neighborhoods, schools, and churches, thus weakening our nation and our communities. When God’s people stand divided, all of us lose.

True unity does not come through silence, though. Any individual or party left unchallenged is dangerous. It is healthy for us to disagree with each other and challenge one another in love, grace, and respect. This brings about growth. In 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul likens this to moving from milk to solid food. Iron sharpens iron.

Here’s one area in which I have fallen short: I failed to trust that we are each gifted with one piece of a big puzzle. Alone we are each only one part of the body. God’s intent is for us to need each other and to work together. If we all bring the gifts we have and listen with an aim toward understanding (not just toward being heard or being right), we can do far more good than either side could do alone.

As the Bible says and Disney’s Frozen reminds, the opposite of love is not hate; it is fear. Let us not be afraid of each other, of truth, or of what will come. Regardless of the outcome of this presidential election, Jesus is and will remain on the throne. Our country may take a different legislative path than some of us desire, but that is not the greatest risk we face as a nation. The greater risk is how we ourselves respond to this election. If we draw lines, build walls, and dig trenches, we will become a self-fulfilling prophesy; we will create the very culture that we have been raging against.

ALL of us – candidates, electorate, male, female, educated, uneducated, rich, poor, black, white, native, immigrant, those who profess faith, and those who do not – fall short of God’s intent. It is only through grace – from God and from each other – that we can live together in a civilized, respectful nation that upholds the rights of each of us to survive, strive, fail, seek forgiveness, and grow.

The Bible says that if we humble ourselves and pray, God will heal our land. My prayer today is for all of us in this great nation, that our differing opinions will eventually serve to enlighten the future that awaits us all.

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