More than enough has been said about the election, but (haha) I’ll share 3 general, brief thoughts pressing on my mind. All 3 of these could apply to other issues besides the current election, so perhaps take them that way:
- Fear should not be a controlling element in the life of a Christian.
- A Christian should not encourage another Christian to do what is sin for them.
- Learn the power of listening to build bridges and prevent discord.
ONE. I’ve observed way too much fear and paranoia among certain Christians in particular. The Bible repeatedly tells us to not be afraid. Fear should not be a controlling element in the life of a Christian. Where is your trust? Is it in politics and elections, or in God’s sovereignty? God is still in control even if the “wrong” candidate wins. God has often worked when bad people were in power. Take a deep breath. Prayerfully consider whether it is fear that is actually driving your choice about this election.
TWO. I’ve sadly observed Christians pressure other Christians to sin. What? Scripture teaches that to violate your conscience is sin, and there are various issues (as Paul articulates in Romans and elsewhere) where different believers will come to different conclusions. Sometimes what is sin for one, is not sin to another, and the Bible teaches freedom with these things. I’ve observed Christians who have thoughtfully shared why they can not, with a conscience, vote for one or both candidates -AND- other Christians attack and pressure them to change their mind, pushing them to violate their conscience. A Christian should not encourage another Christian to do what is sin for them.
THREE. Have you ever shared a specific concern with someone, and they essentially ignore it by changing the subject or diverting to a rabbit trail or abusing the plaintiff? They did not hear you or acknowledge your concern. Weren’t you frustrated, perhaps even angry, that your concern was ignored? Unfortunately, I’ve observed a lot of this during the current election season – a lack of basic dialogue skill and common courtesy during discussion. Someone recently shared on twitter:
Real listening is a rare event. “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” —Proverbs 18:13
Failing to hear someone can be like throwing gasoline on a fire. It is folly and shame. It is does not build a bridge but can detonate it! Christians should not behave this way. Listening to someone with a different view does not mean you are lacking conviction or being wish-washy.
Don’t you want to be heard?
You can’t expect someone to hear you, if you won’t hear them.
Allow someone to be heard. Acknowledge their concern. Perhaps you actually share the exact same concern, but see a different solution. Beginning where you agree can open the door to fruitful dialogue, and both parties can benefit. Christians are supposed to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). You can disagree with someone in a peaceful way. Yes. You can. It is possible to dialogue in a mature fashion that creates understanding rather than discord. Christians are not to sow discord (Proverbs 6:16-19). Give listening a try!
Let’s learn from this election season.