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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Dear Christian Friends

Dear Christian Friends.

I have been guilty at times of everything I'm about to say.  In fact, I bet you wouldn't have to go back too far in my recorded (read: social media) history to find an example.  But that doesn't mean I can't do better, that I shouldn't do better, and that perhaps you should do better too.

In less than a month, we will have a new president and things will either be in chaos or they won't.  My prayer is that everyone can calm down (myself included because I get aggravated and moved by all the stuff I see on TV and the internet too) and go forward with some new lessons learned.

I hope that those of us who felt misrepresented by "our" parties will do everything within our power to make sure that in four more years this doesn't happen again.  Politics is SO not my area of expertise, but ironically it intersects with the thing I'm most passionate about - my faith - all too often.  (Incredibly ironic since keeping church and state separate is one of those things that is supposed to separate America from other countries, don't you think?)  I mean, it makes sense.  Politics have so much to do with our morals.  We are asked to vote every single year on issues that mainly stem from questions of morality: Who makes a good leader? How much money should be taken to run the government? Where should that money come from?  Is it ok to end a pregnancy by our own volition? How do we decrease poverty? What is marriage and who can get married?  Like it or not, the only way we know how to answer these questions is to draw out aspects of our own moral codes.  We take what we think we know about right and wrong and we apply it to the situation.

Christian or not, everyone has a moral code.  But Christians, my dear fellow Christians, we have something that everyone else does not.  WE have a living Savior who not only died and went to hell for us but was raised again and lives in glory interceding on our behalf before God!  He gives wisdom to those that ask and HE ALONE sets up kings and deposes them (Daniel 2:21).  We should not fear because He already knows who our next president will be and what will happen to America.  No matter who comes to power, Christians remember this- we are NOT Hillary's, or Trump's, or Johnson's people.  We are Jesus' people, we belong to him so fully that no matter what happens to America CHRISTIANS will still go on.  Please stop fighting one another.  Stop writing passive-aggressive articles and then passive-aggressively shoving them down each other's throats.  (This is where I cringe to look back in my history and see if I've done this, I'm certain I have)  DO have dialogue and be civil to one another, go ahead and "argue your case."  The world needs to hear what Christians believe and why they believe it, even if we disagree.  But do it with LOVE.  Do it with RESPECT.  Be amazed that even though we are all reading the same book and praying to the same God we can all walk away from encounters with Scripture and sermons having heard different things, moved to tears by His love yet still interpreting His word so differently.  I think Christians need to challenge each other, as iron sharpens iron we must question each other when we get that churning in our gut that something is not right.  But we must do so kindly, and remembering that we are all finite, and flawed, we are not all-knowing, none of us has a direct line to God.  None of us, no matter how much we study, can ever be trusted to interpret the word of God perfectly nor to understand it wholly.  This is not to suggest that we should stop trying to determine what is right, merely that we need to be aware that there are many things in God's word that we just may never fully understand.  At some point we need to be OK with walking away from a conversation in disagreement but with the understanding that we are all just doing our best to listen to God better and to make sure His name is glorified above all others on earth.

Remember friends, that you might be the only Christian example some people ever get, moreover, as it's been put so eloquently by someone much smarter than me- You might be the only Bible some people ever read.  Jesus got angry, it is not wrong for us to get angry too, and I do believe there are some things we can know unequivocally and long to defend with righteous anger!  But even then- it is not your job to enlighten everyone, it is your job to love Jesus and show others His love. You can't make others be nice, but you can be nice yourself and refuse to get dragged into the name-calling and bashing of other Christians who believe differently than you do.

I've spent much of this election season just looking for the answer to the question- how can I please God with my vote?  Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think that any candidate's name is the answer to that question.  (Dare I say, that no candidate has ever been "the one" we had to vote for to please God?)  I don't think there is, or ever has been, a Christian candidate(meaning the candidate a Christian should choose), much as we'd sometimes like to think there is.  That said, I'm still going to vote, and I think you should too, but only IF you're praying, IF you're searching the Bible and spending way more time talking to God than talking to others about who you should choose (ouch, guilty again!).  The only way I feel I can vote in a way that would be pleasing to God is if I cover it with prayer, the whole thing, absolutely soak it in prayer.

Dear Christian friends, when this is all over we will still have each other.  We will still have to be able to look at each other, worship beside each other, pray over hospital beds and weep over lost souls together.  Let's not do irreparable damage to our relationships.  Let's not let the name "Christian" get dragged down any more than it already has.  Remember who you are and WHO'S you are this election season and most of all pray- for each other, for our country, and that God's will be done both in America and truly, in the world as a whole.  Remember who's you are.