If you have access to any form of media you are most likely acutely aware that it is election time in America. And with the advance of social media like facebook and Twitter, every citizen has become a political expert with an audience. I’m curious, though, how many American citizens have even read the Constitution (beyond the Preamble that we all had to memorize in school). I’m honestly not sure I have. And here I am, making my statement. Don’t get me wrong, I think people have a right to voice their opinions. But where is the line? When does it go from simply “an opinion” to slander? Or hate speech? Or even a threat?
I don’t have a Twitter account, but I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of political posts that are currently consuming my newsfeed on facebook. Some of these posts are very well thought out and articulated. Most of them, however, are just rants or bashing “the other guy.” I find it absolutely sickening how cruel we can be to one another. Whatever happened to “United we stand”???
But, to me, the most heart-breaking posts come from my brothers and sisters in Christ. I think I can count on one hand the number of posts encouraging our nation – or even just the Christians in the nation – to pray for our leaders (a Biblical COMMAND). But I have seen plenty that ridicule, tear down, taunt, and abuse. These comments are not just aimed at the presidential candidates (though they definitely take a brutal beating), they target friends, family members, fellow believers, and people who need Christ.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” ~ Ephesians 4:29
Last time I checked, there was no “except during elections” clause added. This verse is not talking about vain flattery. It is talking about using our words to strengthen and encourage one another, rather than as weapons of assault.
Yes, there is a time and a place for admonition and rebuke. We are called to hold one another accountable to Scripture, but the Bible expresses over and over again that this is to be done with grace. Love is the primary motive. The end goal in both encouragement and admonition is for both parties to leave the conversation refreshed and more like Christ.
This is not what I see happening. I see arguments. I see people being deeply wounded. I see individuals slashing their “enemies” to shreds with their words. I see people anxiously waiting to watch others fail so they can pompously proclaim, “I told you so!” I see an overall sense of loathing, superiority, and sense of entitlement.
I do not see humility. I do not see grace. I do not see love. I do not see believers falling on their faces broken before God because of their own sinfulness. I do not see the body of Christ crying out to the Lord on behalf of our leaders – asking God to give them wisdom and guidance, to bring them to salvation if they do not know Him. I do not see Christians genuinely seeking repentance and asking the Holy Spirit to show them where they are wrong. But aren’t these the very things that the Bible commands???
If the Christians refuse to follow Scripture, how can we expect those who don’t believe in God to do so? I have seen too many posts and comments that completely misrepresent Christ. I absolutely love my Lord and Savior, but the picture His children are painting of Him (at least from what I have seen) is often vastly different from the portrait He has painted of Himself for us in Scripture. I can’t blame my non-Christian friends for how they so often despise us. But what we have in Christ is so immensely wonderful that they should long for it!!! Oh man, how far we have fallen!
I openly admit that I am guilty of many (probably all) of these things myself, and I have had to ask forgiveness, and will continue to do so as He continues to reveal more of my sinful selfishness. That realization played a major role in my decision to write this post. I’m not much into politics and have tried to avoid many of the political conversations, but the Lord is burdening my heart and I felt I should share it. Hopefully it will impact at least one person.
I also must clarify that this post is speaking mostly in generalizations, so I am not addressing every single person out there. Some of you have carried yourself beautifully during these elections and have been an excellent ambassador for Christ, and I thank you for that. Some of you are not Christians at all and make no claims to be such, so it seems rather silly to expect you to adhere to the teachings of my beliefs. (Though I still pray that one day God will reveal Himself to you and draw you to Himself – it truly is the most remarkable experience you could ever imagine! And I’d be happy to talk with you more about that if you want.)
So here is my final plea. Can we please stop quoting clichés if we are not willing to live them out? Can we please stop tearing one another down? Can we please start repenting of our own sinfulness? Can we please start earnestly praying for our leaders? Can we please let God move in and through us so that He can accomplish great things in our nation for His glory?
“…if MY PEOPLE who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” ~ God (2 Chronicles 7:14) – emphasis added