Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why I hate election years...

Don't worry. I'm not going to tell you who or what to vote for. Or not vote for. Nor am I telling you who or what I plan to vote for. Or against. This is not that kind of post. You go vote for whatever you believe in. That's how it's supposed to work. I'm not worried about it. God is God the day before, the day of, and the day after each and every election. And that's not going to change.

I should be inspired and encouraged during a year in which the people of my country have an opportunity to have a voice, to make a change, to make a difference by voting.  

Instead I get frustrated and annoyed. By negative and misleading political ads. By Americans' overall lack of critical thinking skills. At how, because of said lack of critical thinking skills, those incredibly dumb negative ads actually work. At how people make judgments or assumptions about other people based on political affiliation. At how people are demonized over political issues. I become super-cynical about the process, about the money involved. The whole thing just seems like a big disaster to me.  And really, don't get me started on the money spent on the campaigns.


But the main reason I cringe during presidential election years is because I think it is the time when Christians do a bang-up job of misrepresenting Jesus.  We lose sight of what we are called to do and it seems, for a few months, as if we are here to coerce people into thinking like we think or living like we (at least claim to) live; or that it is very important that we be right about political matters.  We act as if that "Kingdom" Jesus talks about is America, not heaven.

Last time I checked, Jesus didn't say "go forth and make laws."  He didn't say "go argue with everyone until they see that you are right."  He did not say "please trash the political opponent of whatever party you are in so that everyone will vote the way you want them to."  I think we forget that we cannot govern someone's heart and soul.   And as a follower of Jesus, I am much more concerned about loving your soul than I am about governing it.

Jesus didn't say any of those things, but he did say, "Go, make disciples."  When we stand in front of Jesus to give an account for our lives, he's not going to ask, "what laws did you lobby for?" or "What politicians' names were on your bumper stickers?"  He's going to ask, "where are my people?  Where are the ones that you were supposed to love, the ones you were supposed serve and help follow me?"

This year, I pray that Christians will consider our actions carefully. Is our behavior hurting the very people we are called to love?  Are we pushing people further away from Jesus in the way that we handle politics in this country?   What is more important? Making a law that forces people to act a certain way, or loving people and actually living in community with others so that they can meet Jesus?

I pray that the Church (with a capital C - meaning all of us who claim to be followers of Jesus) would love Democrats. And Republicans. And Independents.  And that we would never be so arrogant as to claim that one party or another is the one that Jesus would pick. I pray that the Church would be a body of people who fight for justice for the oppressed, for those who don't have a voice; that we would truly love our enemies, just as we are called to do.  

My husband reminded me of a quote by Billy Graham:

It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge, and my job to love."

Oh how I pray we remember this!


  1. thank you thank you thank you,
    love & big hugs to all.

  2. Wow! Thank you for this! Also, I love the new blog layout!

  3. Thank you!! I have read this several times and just shared it on fb because I think others need to read it as well. I hope that is ok!


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