Oct 162016 12 Responses

7 Things I Know About This Election

It’s a crazy election season. Maybe all election seasons are unique, but this one seems different than every one one before. The divide seems great. The rhetoric is heightened. And each side is strongly making their case.

While this cycle has been confusing to the pundits and common man alike, there are a few things I know.

Here are 7 things I know about this election:

1. There is not one way all Christians should vote. We are often unable to separate our faith from our politics. One downside to this confusion is we assume our way is God’s way. In graduate school, I had two professors whom I greatly loved yet they were politically totally opposite. Both, in response to faith, believed their way was right even though they voted differently in every election. This experience showed me that two people can love Jesus and come to different conclusions with neither being totally right or wrong. Don’t assume your way is always God’s way. (See: This Is How a Christian Should Vote)

2. Judging other people for how they vote is sin. This may be the greatest irony of the political season–Christians judge other people as sinful based on how they vote, but that judgment is actually sin. If a person is attempting to bring glory to God with their vote and in faith they make the best choice they can in response to Scripture, they have done all God expects them to do. To judge them as sinful because they vote differently than you is a clear violation of God’s commands. (See: What Evangelicals Forget Regarding Elections)

3. People can love your Jesus but not your politics. There is a difference between the two. I was raised by faithful men and women who taught me to love Jesus and to be very active in the political arena. As I grew, I continued to love the Jesus they taught me about, but I began to doubt some of their political beliefs. That’s okay. As people come to know Christ, it should influence their politics, but we are arrogant if that means they should automatically vote like us. For most people, their politics reveal more about where they grew up than if they love God or not. (See: Jesus Isn’t as Conservative or Liberal as You Think)

4. Every Biblical command to love your neighbor applies to your political opponent and their followers. For some reason, we often assume we can ignore parts of the Bible when it comes to our political opponents. So Jesus commands us to love, but we don’t hesitate to act unloving toward the other party. We are warned about gossip, but we will gladly spread rumors about them. We are told to value the truth, but we won’t fact check something before we post it. Jesus calls us to love as he loved which means we must love even those who vote differently than us.

5. God cares about America, but our country does not play a central role in His story. The primary way Americans misread the Bible is by reading it through a lens of patriotism. I love America, but as I read the Bible I’m reminded there is no evidence we play a vital role in God’s redemption story. Too often, Americans assume as goes our country so goes God’s Kingdom. It’s just not true. Even while Christianity might be taking a backseat in America, it is forcefully advancing around the world. God can use the election, but His Kingdom won’t be changed because of it.

6. This is NOT the most important election of our lifetime. Every presidential election, I hear people say “this is the most important election of my lifetime.” They mean it, but they are likely wrong. We tend to over-dramatize many things in life–politics being the worst among them. Every election is important, but it’s probably not as important as some want to make it–the some being those who are trying to profit off of it, get elected from it, or manipulate your vote in it.

7.We take politics too seriously. Prior to the 1970s, many Christians didn’t care about politics. Wisely, some encouraged Christians to become more involved. Sadly, the pendulum has swung too far the other way. Many Christians now put too much weight on American politics. That’s been evident in this election cycle where Christians have been faster to sell each other out in order to protect our candidate rather than allowing the bond of our brother and sisterhood in Christ being the defining relationship. If we have more affection for those who vote like us than those who follow Christ with us, we have a problem.

I love politics and because of that enjoyment, I have to be very careful during election season. I have an ability to separate political disagreement from personal disdain. Some of my favorite people are those who disagree with me and we can debate the issues without it hurting our relationship. I know some people don’t have the same approach.

While this election season has frustrated me in several ways, it has also been very instructional. It has revealed our hypocrisy and given us a chance to take a serious look into our own souls. Hopefully after the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November, the noise will quiet and we can do a better job of loving each other.


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