During this heated and divisive election season, I thought it would be beneficial to offer some advice when it comes to November 8th, which is now a week away. These are things that are actually important for all of us to remember.
1 – Take a deep breath.
Believe it or not, this is not the worse thing to ever have happened. America, as well as humanity, has faced worse times than this. So, take a deep breath, count to ten, and chill out.
2 – Don’t vilify the other side.
There are polar opposite views, I get that. But as soon as we vilify people, we have become complicit in creating the exact political climate we all have come to loathe this season. They are not your enemy. They are your neighbor. God loves them, just as much as He loves you. Love them first, then you can disagree with them.
3 – Talk calmly.
If, heaven forbid, a discussion arrises between you and someone of a different political viewpoint, stay calm. When you feel your pulse rate start to climb, your finger nails digging into the flesh of your palms, and your vision tunneling, back off. It is not worth it. You will not convince them, you will only deepen the rift running through this nation. Our words should always be humble, gentle, and full of thanksgiving (Colossians 4:6).
4 – Vote.
For some of you, the choice is clear. Great – go vote. For others, you feel stuck between voting for either political corruption or moral corruption. Go vote. Not voting doesn’t help. Also, there are more things to vote on than just the presidency. Lastly, I know this will be controversial for many but in the end they would still agree with this, you can vote for other people than just the two main candidates. For whom should you vote for? That is the question that only you can answer. The question, however, is not “If you should vote.”
5 – Remind yourself that everything is going to be okay.
If your candidate wins, the collective “you” did not beat the other side. This presidential election is about deciding who the nation wants for the next presidency, not about some game in which we destroy those against us.
If your candidate loses, the collective “you” did not get beaten. Once again, take a deep breath. Remember, the end has not come. This nation has experienced worse things than this. And, believe it or not, this too shall pass. Get a grip. Scream into a pillow if you must. Watch a sob story on Netflix while you drown your sorrows with a pint of ice cream. But get over it.
In the end, it is God who is King and He has always been King. He has seen the rise and fall of countless kingdoms. He decides the boundaries and times of nations and He does so so that He might redeem the world (Acts 17:26-27). Even if it doesn’t make sense, your ultimate calling is always to trust your God in whom your true citizenship ultimately lies (Philippians 3:20).
6 – Don’t blame anyone.
Win or lose, you are going to feel the surge of blame shifting start rising. Do not let yourself be swept in it. We are to be a people who speak gracefully, with thanksgiving. We are to be a peaceful people who are gentle and humble. Resist with all your might to be roped into the political blame shifting and moral eye gouging. This is the problem with politics today. Every crisis must be blamed on something or someone, but never on one own’s party.
7 – Remind yourself, how you live with your neighbors on November 9th matters more than how you vote on November 8th.
One way or another, this nation is going to be divided. One side is going to feel ostracized and oppressed. The other side is going to feel victorious and braggadocious. In response, the losing side is going to retort in anger and bitterness. Then, the winning side will respond more strongly with power and shame. The cycle will continue unless someone ends it and reconciles people. That is your job as a follower of Christ – “blessed are the peace-makers” (Matthew 5:9).
8 – Be careful before you bring God into this.
Hear me out on this one. I am not saying that your faith should not influence what you vote for. It absolutely should. However, what I am saying is that you are not God and you do not get to act like Him by proclaiming judgements and curses upon a nation. Nor do you get to decide what God’s sovereign, world-wide, long-term, and grand plan is. Do not put words in God’s mouth…is all that I am saying. You don’t like it when people do it, neither does He.
9 – Work on your empathy.
This election is ugly and people are sincerely torn and confused as what to do. You may not be, but a huge swath of people are. Be nice, patient, and understanding.
10 – Check yourself. You might be wrong.
No, I am not talking about the other side. I am talking about you. You might be wrong. I know it is hard to believe but it is true.
11 – Pray for the next president.
We all (should) want the next leader to do their best job. Pray for them (1 Timothy 2:1-3). Submit to them (1 Peter 2:13; Romans 13:1, 7). Honor them. God knows what He is doing. He saw fit to allow the next president to be whomever it ends up being. Trust God, not politics.
12 – Be the best citizen possible.
Your job is to be the best citizen and public servant. Think of Daniel who out lived several kings, kings with awful policies and pagan practices. Daniel served them faithfully. He himself never bent his knee to their deities and he never compromised his integrity. Still, he was humble, gentle, and reliable. Be Daniel.
Lastly, calm down. I know I said it already, but please, calm down. Seriously…stop hyperventilating, stop posting about the evils of the other party, stop insulting _______ supporters, just stop. Breath in nice and deep. Now, do your research, make your decision, vote, and move on on November 9th with your life and go love someone.