Wow. How could people be so stupid? That’s probably what a good 50% of the population was thinking as the latest election results came out. Some had that thought because of who won some of the primaries. Some thought it as they saw which amendments and measures passed or failed. It’s hard to imagine anyone agreeing with every outcome in an election involving multiple offices and measures.
Common responses to these bone-headed decisions (after all, people who disagree with you about politics must be brain damaged, right?) include:
- Insults and name calling aimed at those responsible
- Accusations as we make assumptions about the evil motives of those who chose differently than we did
- Anger at those whom we believe misled the voters and toward the voters who are so stupid (Oops, there it is again, the almost irresistible urge to insult them!)
- Fear and exaggeration about what the ramifications of these decisions will be
- Grief because we miss the good old days before things started going downhill
- Anxiety and Frustration over our inability to control these things
These responses do more to take away our peace and joy than they do to build it. So how should we respond to our disappointment with the voters’ decisions?
Here are some ideas:
- Thank God
In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. — 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
If nothing else, thank God that we live in a country that allows us to vote on such important matters. It’s popular these days to call portray some politicians as fascists, tyrants or dictators, but their level of power is so minimal compared to true despots. We may not win every election, but at least we get to try and we do succeed in some. There’s a reason the Scriptures repeatedly tell us to give thanks. When we make that our habit, we train ourselves to see the good that’s all around us, we train ourselves to see God working behind the scenes, and we train ourselves to be happy no matter what our circumstances.
- Pray for whatever politicians get elected
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all… — 1 Timothy 2:1-6
Paul said that we are to pray for them specifically because God wants them to be saved. God loves them. He didn’t say to pray for them so that they legislate the way we want them to, but He did say that our ability to live quiet and “quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and reverence” may depend on it! Why? Because they might make it illegal to do so? Perhaps they might, but the bigger problem isn’t them it’s us. As Christians, our hearts should beat in sync with God’s, but our flesh wants to drift away. If we’re so concerned with the damage a politician could do to our finances, our business or our government that we feel more anger toward them than love, then we’re acting more like James and John than like Jesus.
You may remember how the people of one Samaritan village wouldn’t welcome Jesus because He was on his way to Jerusalem. They were hurt because they felt like Jesus was treating them as second class and the Jews in Jerusalem were His favorites. So James and John asked Jesus if they should repay them by calling fire down from heaven to destroy them! They misjudged the Spirit of Jesus. He wanted to bless, not curse, these people who decided to view Him as an enemy. If we are sincerely praying for the salvation of our political opponents, we are aligned with God’s loving heart. Only then can our hearts be ruled by godliness and by our reverence for God.
- Be at peace. In fact, rejoice!
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. — Mark 4:39
And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” — Luke 8:48
Rejoice in the Lord always! Again, I say rejoice! — Philippians 4:4
Jesus had peace in the midst of storms. We can too if we follow Jesus’ example of keeping our faith and eyes solidly locked on God rather than the storm. One of the most repeated blessings in the New Testament is peace. And one of the most repeated commandments is to rejoice. It’s easy to rejoice when everything goes your way. But to rejoice when everything goes against you might just be impossible without practice. So practice it now when small things go sideways on you. You can do it. Just look 50 feet past the problem.
In the movie The Princess Bride, two expert swordsmen were having a deadly duel in which they kept complimenting each other on their skills. Finally, one said with a smile that the other was clearly better than he himself was. His opponent then asked, “Then why are you smiling?” “Because I know something you do not know. I’m not left-handed.” While losing the battle and seeing that he was clearly outmatched, he was able to smile and rejoice because he knew that the end would not be determined by the limits of his current skill. He had a secret weapon. We have a better one. We know that nothing can separate us from the love of God. And we know that He has promised us victory for eternity.
So don’t let setbacks in elections, job situations, relationships or anything else turn you bitter, scared or anxious. Love wins. We’re on the side of love. And now is the perfect time to begin practicing thanksgiving, rejoicing and peacefulness. Come November, some serious disappointment is going to come for about half the population. This is just a warm up. Now repeat after me: Love wins. Love wins. Love wins!