How to: Respond to this election as a Christian

9:13 AM

I've been waiting to make this post out of the idea the Dean of Chaplains at my college implanted in my mind this week, "Quick, slow slow." Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger (James 1:19). I feel ready and level headed now to share, not how I felt about the result of the election, but how I feel we can move forward from hate, no matter what "side" you're on.

The day after the election, I had many (well-intended) Christian friends tell everyone that "God's got this!"

While I think that that's an appropriate response for a lot of Christians, it mixed poorly in my stomach. People were frantic, scared, and lost, and I did not feel like telling everyone a version of "It's going to be okay," was right. To them, it wasn't going to be okay (and still isn't for many).

It's very hard to make a case of faith for someone who does not see hope. Telling them these religious mottos only told them this: I don't think that you should be worried about this because it's all going to be okay. And therefore, that you weren't there to listen to their worries or their fears. You shut down their doubt with your own certainty.

Quick, slow, slow.

I wrestled with scripture, trying to make sense of it in light of all of the hate in our country the past few days. I knew that responding to hate with hate was not the answer. At the very core of Christianity is love, loving God and loving your neighbor.

And here is what I've gathered thus far:

We are meant to be a light to those feeling in the dark right now. We must rise above the fear, have courage, and be what God needs us to be in this time of uncertainty. We must not belittle others with our faith by showing them that their feelings are unjustified, because every feeling post-election is justified. Some people are scared and worried, and some people are upset at being labeled something that they are far from. Every feeling is okay.

"You are a light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)

What we must do is this: fight evil with good. Get to the root of the problem and solve it there. Don't go to the oppressor, go to the oppressed. Find their needs and meet them. When you see someone experiencing an act of hate, remove them from the situation. Volunteer for organizations that need help. Stand up for others. Be a listener and friend.

There is no use fighting hate with hate, because then hate wins. I have a hope that love will always win.

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21)

As Christians, we are called to be different. The world is no longer a good representation of our faith. No matter who won this election, there would have been pain, aching, sorrow, and backlash of some sort. This is not new. But we are called to be different, to respond to hate with love, and to persevere in times of trial and persecution. We fight for justice in a different way, a way that does not provoke, but brings peace.

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God--what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2)

This is a time of discernment in many areas: the media, feelings, the future, and faith. However, it's becoming more and more clear what I am called to do in a time like this. I must love, even when it's hard, even when I'm told not to.

This is the way I understand things, the way I make sense of all the hate going on around me. We must come with love. Let me rephrase that: we MUST come with love and light, and meet people who are feeling down and in the dark.

"Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." (1 Corinthians 16:13)

It isn't about shoving my faith onto someone else. In most cases, unless I know a person is Christian, I will not do so. I will simply act out of love and show them that I care, and that I am there for them.

That is all I can do, and I have great hope that it will ease the pain of this world long enough for people to sigh and catch their breaths, to breathe long enough to have hope and see that love is the answer, long enough for love to prevail and hate to shrivel into the darkness.

Thank you for reading.


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