Day after the election… Maybe you are waking up this morning horrified that Donald J. Trump has been elected President of the United States. On the other hand, maybe you are ecstatic about it. I would venture to say, with certainty, that you’re not indifferent. This election cycle has shown that our country is deeply divided; that our society is severely polarized. It saddens me to see so much hate-speech coming from both ends. What can we do?
I actually thought about writing this last Sunday, spurred by entirely different events; but some that lead to the same conclusion.
We were leaving church Sunday morning and were surprised to see several posters on the sidewalk, and two men walking up and down on a rant of judgment. I don’t remember his words exactly; but he was condemning this particular church because, according to him, it is not being outspoken enough about the horrors of abortion (never mind that he has never been in the church). Kerry and I approached him politely and tried to reason with him – but he continued on his rant, hurling insults and using intimidation tactics. Ha was judging as an outside observer, having very little factual information. But he was convinced that he was right in his assessment and (I’m guessing) felt compelled to let everyone know about it. From our brief conversation with him, this was my takeaway:
* You don’t persuade people by going on a rant.
* You don’t get people on your side by insulting them.
* You don’t get people to agree with you by criticizing them
* You can’t get people to value what you value if you disrespect them.
* You can’t find common ground if you won’t listen to the other side
There are things that you feel passionately about – can you be OK with people who see differently? (or maybe they agree with you but aren’t quite as passionate as you would like)?
So here’s my exhortation to you today. Wherever you stand on the political spectrum,
“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).
* You can choose today to abstain from engaging in criticism
* You can choose today to refrain from speaking demeaning things about others
* You can choose today to speak words of life and peace
Also remember Jesus says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28).
* You can choose today to be kind to one another
* You can choose today to pray for those you disagree with
* You can choose today to bless those who hold different views on issues that are dear to you
And let’s continue practicing what Paul teaches:
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
* Pray for President Obama as he completes his service to the nation
* Pray for President-elect Donald Trump, that he would have wisdom in governing this country
And “Finally, brothers,
* whatever is true,
* whatever is honorable,
* whatever is just,
* whatever is pure,
* whatever is lovely,
* whatever is commendable,
* if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,
* think about these things.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).
May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.
Dr. Chiqui Polo-Wood | All Rights Reserved 2016