A number of folk from places far and wide are asking me about the election results. There are a handful of things that readily come to my mind that I would like to pass along. These are very important, I think, particularly as we disciples move forward from here.
First, regardless of which “side” we have been on politically, we disciples must walk forward—together—in great humility. That is not to say there cannot remain strong convictions about personalities or policies, but that our love and respect for one another must transcend such things. While certain characteristics regarding our political candidates, as well as a select number of policies across the political spectrum, should give us pause and may even cause holy consternation, the vitriol among disciples because of political disagreements is still more disconcerting and must now come to an end. Our Lord Jesus, in a passage of Scripture charged with political and religious betrayal, confusion, and even death, made it clear that a watching world will know we are disciples by our “love for one another” (John 13:35). These words should move us toward each other so we mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15). Rather than point fingers, gloat, or be argumentative, we should “live in harmony with one another, and not be haughty . . . never being wise in our own eyes” (Romans 12:16). We must seek to listen, understand, empathize, and respect each other. We must truly love each other with grace, mercy, and good-will. This necessitates an other-worldly humility that the Holy Spirit can provide, and we must all trust the Holy Spirit for such.
Secondly, we disciples must respect and honor and pray for our new leader. This is not a quaint suggestion but a Scriptural command, given by a man who spent his fair share of time incarcerated and humiliated by the very people he exhorts his fellow believers to respect and honor. Speaking of people in governmental authority, Paul writes, “Render to all what is owed to them . . . respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” (Romans 13:7). This has real import for how we think, what we say, what we write (particularly, on social media, where disciples of Jesus should be especially thoughtful), and so forth. Moreover, the apostle is clear that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for . . . kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:1-3). Whether you voted for Donald Trump or not, now is an opportune time to pause and pray for him. I cannot help but wonder what could have been if instead of too easily and too often shredding the Clintons, Bushes and Obamas throughout these past 24 years, American Christians became known to those presidents and their families as their greatest prayer warriors and intercessors.
Lastly, we disciples must lead the way in blessing America with shalom. Jeremiah 29 finds the Lord exhorting the Jews to “seek the shalom of the city where I have sent you into exile, and to pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its shalom you will find your shalom” (Jeremiah 29:7). Shalom represents the ancient Hebrew concept of peace, friendship, well-being, contentment, and completeness. Blessing our nation with shalom requires us disciples to be concerned when injustices exist, people are afraid, and too many have uncertain futures. Blessing our nation with shalom means we see everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from, as fellow image-bearers who are deeply loved by the Father. It means, frankly, that we approach our daily lives as people who are more than American citizens wishing for the so-called American dream, but Kingdom-citizens choosing to bless our land with the favor and lovingkindness of The Father. It means lamenting with those who suffer, expecting the best of each other, protecting those who are not safe, and empowering all to flourish. Significantly, this way of living puts the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ on full display, and makes still more credible and holistic any appeals we make for a sinful world to find redemption through the person of Jesus Christ.
Humility. Prayer. Peace. These three, at least, must define all of us disciples as we move forward from Election Day 2016. We must never waver. We must be bold and courageous. And we must be trusting of Our Ultimate King, Jesus Christ.