(Or Now That The Election Is Over, What Do We Do With The Rest Of Our Lives?)
We can all agree it was an ugly election cycle. But look! Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz are getting along! Why can’t we?
The mourning of the Democrats and the celebrating (and mourning) of the Republicans after the election of Donald Trump has not satisfied our nation’s need for an end to vitriol, which I like to call our need for “quitriol.” How do we get there? Let’s gaze deeply into the periodic table of elements and take note of the most regal of elements, the Noble Gases.
Ah, the Noble Gasses, also known as the Inert Gases because they don’t react! These are the elements we could learn a lesson from, a lesson that was illustrated to me in the last 48 hours by a humble post by Phil Vischer, the creator of Veggie Tales (and other things).
Phil wrote a blog post called Church, We’ve Got Some Explaining To Do, which is basically a respectful, cautionary tale about the negative message that enthusiastic Christian support of Donald Trump has sent to the rest of the nation. I hope you’ll take a look at it. I’ll wait right here while you do.
You back? Did you agree with everything? Did you agree with some of it? Did it make you stop and think? Did it make you mad?
That last question is the one that gets me. It’s not amazing that people might disagree on this topic, but plenty of Phil’s Internet Brothers and Sisters in Christ went off on him because of this blog post, calling him a moron, declaring they would never buy a Veggie Tales product again, etc., etc. It’s symptomatic of a political reactivity that is affecting our entire nation, Christians included, and it’s insane.
Incidentally, so many people were mad about Phil’s post that he wrote a clarification that should have been unnecessary, if only people weren’t flying off the handle. You can find it here: Let’s Try This One More Time.
Folks, we need to be non reactive Noble Gasses, not Hindenburgs full of hydrogen ready to explode with the smallest spark. It isn’t Christ like. It isn’t cool. It isn’t smart.
So how can we be less reactive and maybe learn something from the experiences and people around us, even when we don’t agree? I’m glad you asked!
Accept That It Was A Strange Election
The choices were poor at best. The campaign was a race to the bottom in many ways. Maybe you made a great choice, maybe you made a rotten one, and maybe you know a few people who you think made even worse choices than you did in the voting booth. It’s time to stop fighting about an election that’s over. The North and the South managed to become one nation again after the Civil War, I think we should be able to manage surviving an election.
Accept That This (And All) Elections Didn’t Bring Us A Messiah
Seriously. It would be great if we could elect the perfect Presidential candidate and then take the next four years off while he or she fought the good fight for us and we just spent our time keeping tabs on the next Star Trek / Star Wars / Marvel movies. But that never happens. It certainly didn’t happen this time. It wouldn’t have happened if Hillary had won.
Both major candidates were deeply flawed, both personally and politically. If we want to influence our nation in a way that furthers the kingdom of God and reflects the character of Christ, we aren’t going to do it by declaring that ANY political candidate is The Answer To Our Woes And God’s Perfect Will For America. We need to be vocal. We need to be involved.
We need to stand for truth.
No candidate, no party has the corner on truth. What determines which ideas are good and which are bad is not the (D) or (R) after a candidate’s name. The world needs to hear Christians advocate for good things and stand against bad things. Period. Doing this won’t just help mend our political fences as a nation, it’ll enable us to be witnesses for the Gospel more than we are witnesses for flawed people and political organizations.
Accept One Another Just as Christ Accepted You
Yes, I stole that one from the Bible. (Romans 15:7) Can Phil Vischer or anybody else inside or outside the Christian community say something you disagree with and you not explode? There are important issues in politics, no doubt. There’s a lot at stake sometimes, but the thing the Bible commanded me to guard isn’t the Constitution or my rights or the state of the economy.
It’s my heart.
Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23
How can I love my enemies, even the ones whose votes are all wrong?
Try being a noble gas. Don’t be reactive, and concern yourself with your character and the character of your nation before you worry about who’s in power.