After a contentious presidential election that concluded with stunning results, it’s clear that many people in our nation this week are lamenting, grieved and even fearful of how they fit into this new (a)political culture.
As the church, we need to genuinely understand this grief and affirm it; and certainly not gloss or gloat.
I have my own deeply seated disappointments about this election cycle and even the result. I can say candidly (and these views are mine personally, I’m not here representing RESTORATION church as a whole) that Mr. Trump is not my ideal candidate either… Let me explain.
I say that in the sense that if I were designing my own candidate for president, Mr. Trump certainly does NOT fit in my wireframe for the character, experience and morality that I see befitting the office of President. No matter how you cast your vote, I think all of us would agree that this is true.
“But isn’t this a time of celebration for God’s victory?”
As people of God’s Story, our hope should never be in earthly kings or political powers, so I don’t believe this is a time to act as if it is by gloating or celebrating this as victory for God or our side at all. We also have to remember that not all Christians vote the same and that’s okay.
Remember that we are not citizens of this world. Our government is not here—it’s in the throne room of the Most High.
Our allegiance is exclusively to our Father’s Kingdom. The President—whoever it is—is not “God’s man” anymore than I am or you are. But Jesus is God’s only Son and He alone rules and reigns. There is where all our hope for peace should be invested. Never on earthly treasures, but only on treasures in heaven.
So in the days after the election, as many of our neighbors, friends and even Christians among us grieve, we should openly affirm their grief and even try to resonate with it.
As people of faith, I believe we are called to weep with those who weep and to share in the sufferings of those around us. Many people today, especially younger people, women and people of color, are disappointed, disillusioned and even fearful with this sudden change in political power.
They feel alienated, disenfranchised and marginalized. These are emotions that we, as the church, should easily be able to relate with.
As I take in all the reaction to the election, I empathize and I want—not ever to condemn—but to show my compassion. From the tears that flow to the anger that over boils and the protests and riots, it is so important for the church to understand this collective pain, to pray for/with those who are hurting and to show genuine, heartfelt compassion as a large section of our neighbors grieve.
This week, I’ve seen images of broken-hearts, confusion and resentment. I’ve heard the cries that we are a divided nation. I’ve seen the protest and even the violent outpouring of emotion over the results of this election.
A vast number of people are numbed and hurting. These are your neighbors and co-workers; friends and family. They ought to know we care and feel our compassion.
Do you know someone who seems particularly affected by the election? Spend time with them. Listen to their cries and sit with them in their lament.
Over the last several decades with the rise of social programs and reforms, government has become an idol among us.
Our collective culture imagines that it is the government that will only provide for the common good. I read recently that the hope of Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy was about something more than infrastructure, economics and national security.
In one blogger’s mind this week, “Hillary supporters believe in a diverse America; one where religion or skin color or sexual orientation or place of birth aren’t liabilities or deficiencies or moral defects. Her campaign was one of inclusion and connection and interdependency. It was about building bridges and breaking ceilings. It was about going high.”
These promises are wonderful, but they are also way beyond the scope of the authority set forth in our Constitution for our Executive Office.
Take a look here at how the Executive Office is defined. It seems actually quite dry and there’s really nothing in it that says the President will (re)define culture or guarantee inclusion for everyone.
The promises made were lovely in concept, but they were in some sense undeliverable. They are beyond the scope of what the Executive branch or even the collective authority of our government can enforce and maintain.
And in the end—after all the votes are counted—they were just campaign promises. No matter what any politician says, at the end of the day, it’s always just about winning an election and gaining a position of power.
In this country, the office of President in the United States is the one that is most vulnerable to being idolized, but it belongs (seemingly) to a single person. And throughout the Story, people have often sought to make idols out of a single leader. And when we do this, it’s called idolatry.
I think that many people in our country are being woken up from idolatry and it’s painful and heart-wrenching. So we should not condemn, point fingers or mock…
We should show genuine Christ-like love and compassion and be ready to share the Good News of our freedom in Christ.
This Sunday, Restoration will take time to pray, compassionately, for our country and particularly those who lament and for those who fear that they will be marginalized.
Because that is a feeling that we in the Church certainly should understand.