I went in to yesterday’s election knowing that no matter how it turned out, I wouldn’t be entirely happy. Neither would I be entirely disheartened.
That’s because both parties espouse things I believe in, and both work against other things I hold dear. Neither party speaks entirely for me. But people voted, we have what we have, and now it’s time to work together and let God “write straight with crooked lines.”
To me that means, first of all, that we don’t display the kind of “dirty politics” we say we abhor from the candidates. We don’t rant and rave and call the rest of the voters “morons” or other names because the candidate we favored didn’t win. For me, it means I remind myself that the government can’t and shouldn’t provide all the answers while I live my life to suit myself. I have to provide what answers I can in small ways, within my own sphere of influence.
I have to remind myself that when Jesus was here on earth, he healed the sick, forgave sinners and told them to amend their lives, showed compassion, and taught people how to love God and each other. He moved through a country that was occupied by a foreign power, but never once did he advocate overthrowing that foreign power. The closest he came to speaking politically was to talk about giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.
Jesus showed people how to live their lives where they were, in the situations they were in, never allowing outside influences to deflect them from the prime directive to love God AND love their neighbor–no matter whether that neighbor was the guy next to them in the synogogue, or the tax collector extorting their money or the Roman soldier nailing them to a cross.
The results of yesterday’s election means not all of “my” issues will be handled the way I would wish. It means the same for you. So what do we do about it? We live what we believe, with respect for others, even those who disagree, and we do what we can.
If you don’t believe in abortion, volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center, pray before abortion clinics, sew baby clothes or donate baby items to Birthright or other centers for women who need help to give life to their babies.
If you believe there should be more help for the poor, ask yourself what you’re doing to help. Tithe your income to your own neighbor in need, or to food pantries, or to church or to other organizations helping those in trouble. Buying a new pair of shoes you like but don’t need? Divert the money to Clothe my People instead.
If you believe in immigration reform, then welcome the immigrants around you and don’t begrudge them what jobs they can find. Teach English as a second language, help to find ways for them to contribute to our communities.
If you don’t trust the growing influence of the corporate world, then shop the mom-and-pop, locally owned stores. Stay away from the big-box stores. Don’t shop online. Put your money where your mouth is.
If you decry the loss of family values, then live them in your own life. Support activities that support families. Spend time with your own kids, eat meals together, turn off the TV and play games together, don’t cluck when you hear little kids fussing in church, encourage schools not to schedule sports practices during the dinner hour. Don’t shop at stores that are open on holidays.
If you’re a Christian, follow the words in Ephesians and “draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power,” and from each other, not from the vagaries of government. Even if you’re not Christian, or of no faith at all, you can be the pebble that sends out ripples of hope and goodness. We can all make a difference in our own little worlds.
I believe, even when we differ, that God can use our good efforts to bring about the good
that he intends. And so, rather than rail or gloat after yesterday’s election, I remember I did what I could, and will leave the outcome in God’s hands.