Fear is one of the most debilitating emotions a person can entertain. For the Christian it should be one that is never embraced. Over the past several election cycles the politicians, pundits, and political media has used it to mobilize their constituency groups. While this has been effective it has come at a cost.
In this past election cycle the politics of fear has been on full display from both sides. From the rent a mobs on the left to the hyper tribal rhetoric on the right it has been used at a great cost to the electoral psyche of our country. American presidential campaigns are historically contentious and polarizing, but with the advent of social media, racial tensions that have been brewing for several years, and the social-economical disconnect that the middle class has with the ruling class it has started to boil over. The question is what can we do now? Here is what I have chosen to do.
- Listen more and judge less. People who have different political views may arrive at it with a sincere belief that it is the better and more moral way to govern. Not all Democrats are Godless, Communist reprobates as some on the political right purport. Not all Republicans are racist, homophobic, misogynist knuckle dragging neanderthals that many on the left believe. While both parties have representatives that a sound bite could be extrapolated to stoke the worse fears of some, context is imperative.
- Get out of the echo chamber. If it doesn’t challenge you it won’t grow you. No one has a monopoly on perspective. Listen to smart people you disagree with. Let them challenge your current understandings, perspectives, and notions. In many cases it may reinforce your ideas and ideals, but in other cases it may modify and mature them.
- Display and bring peace without compromising values. What makes our nation great is the fact we have freedom. Freedom to speak, assemble, vote, and challenge the status quo. Freedom is a wonderful thing and must be cherished, but as Apostle admonishes if it offends my brother to eat meat then I should abstain. There are times when my freedom may bring harm. How many relationships in communities, churches, and families have been strained because the ability to agreeably disagree wasn’t achieved? Seek peace first if you value your relationship with your friends, family, or foes at all.
- Pray for my country and its leaders. One of the things that is not a choice for the Christian is to pray for our leaders. There is no choice if you are going to claim Christ as Lord. I have not agreed much politically with the policies of our current administration, nor many in the Republican led congress. There are many things I can’t agree with that has been said thus far with the incoming President Elect. Nevertheless in all of these instances I am admonished by scripture to pray with no exceptions.
These are the things I have done, will do, and will try to continue to do. I believe our freedom and form of government is a fragile thing. I pray we can all learn to participate vigorously for our beliefs without causing damage to our neighbors and irreparable harm to our country.