I'm in a funk this week (alongside a little less than 50% of the rest of America). It's not the outcome of the election that has me discouraged. I’m honestly not particularly interested in politics or the systems that govern our country. In fact, I could care less about the political process, and I think that at the end of the day, the laws that are passed by the people in power have a very limited impact on and relevance for the actual lives of American citizens. The system in and of itself is ineffective and broken, so really election results for me are neither here nor there.
But I am discouraged. Deeply, in fact. I’m heartbroken that half of the country chose hate on Tuesday, and I’m heartbroken that the other half of the country is choosing hate now. What are we doing, America?
When I look at the nation I’m blessed to call home, I see despair and anger and longing and broken spirits and jaded attitudes and disregard for common humanity and selfishness and so so so so much need. A need for true, lasting, authentic, empowering love. Not empty promises or fake smiles or surface level compliments- real love.
Our elected officials can’t give us that, y’all. Our deepest need and innate desire for authentic fulfillment cannot be satisfied by the outcome of an election, the passing of legislation, the affairs of the state, or even the work we commit our daylight to, the relationships we attempt to maintain, or any of the other lies we whisper to ourselves in a desperate attempt to say everything is going to be alright.
So here's a call to turn ourselves back into a nation that loves, because government simply can't do that for us. Find some kind words for someone that might need them, or check out one of the many lists that have been circulating with organizations that would love to have your help. Here is a particularly comprehensive one compiled by one of my favorite illustrators.
Followers of Christ, the rest of this is for you. If you aren’t a Christian, feel free to keep reading, but just know that I completely understand I have no place to speak for you, and I won’t try to, although I still love you and want to send you all good vibes during this weird season of change our country finds itself occupying. Much love, regardless of your beliefs.
Now Christian brothers and sisters- what are you doing? Why are you disregarding the commandments of God so you can keep the traditions of men? How are you going to church on Sunday morning and yelling at people in all capital letters on Facebook about your political beliefs later that week? Where is your heart? Where is your compassion for mankind? Where is your love for the poor? Where is your attention to the forgotten? How are you doing what is just and right for the foreigners, the orphans, the widows? What are you doing to help the oppressed? And what have you done with the good, glorious, beautiful news that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ came to the earth so that salvation can be offered to all?
The real love our nation needs every single day isn't on CNN or Fox or in the Times or in your local paper. The real love our nation needs is the very salvation that God in the flesh entrusted to us to proclaim. Salvation to all.
Sweet Christian brother or sister, did your vote offer salvation to all? Sweet Christian brother or sister, did your last Facebook post or tweet offer salvation to all? Sweet Christian brother or sister, are your daily actions offering salvation to all? Sweet Christian brother or sister, is the posture of your heart one that offers salvation to all?
I pray that our loving Father will mold our hard and weary hearts into carriers and givers of truth and love and justice, all of which are found in Christ alone. If you find yourself proclaiming a message other than that during this season of political change, I pray that you will be given the wisdom to check yourself.
We, as a faith community, absolutely have to stop proclaiming the name of Christ and the vicious, hate-filled rhetoric of the world in the same breath. Because the world is listening, and they are hearing words of injustice and exclusion and oppression and self-importance cross their ears at the very same time they hear the sweetest name we know.
May we carry the truth of the gospel in such a way as to remind our nation that the God in whom we trust is not a God of hate, but a God of perfect love. Real love.
“I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3: 10-11)