Friday, November 11, 2016

While the Nations Rage || My Response to the 2016 Presidential Election


For those of you who were less than impressed with the nation’s response to the results of this week’s presidential election, I hope you find this article helpful. I was not happy to see a godless man elected president and I was less-than-enthusiastic with our selection of candidates this year (yeah, I felt a little nauseous seeing those names on my ballot). But I guess my pessimism was for the better since it meant I didn’t have high expectations going into the election, so my hopes were not utterly crushed by the results.

I do not want to make this a political post about how you should respond to this election or how you should have voted. I do not want to lecture or criticize any political party. All I want to do is offer some helpful, pragmatic suggestions as well as some hope. Feel free to take or leave my advice as you please. Also, I would love it if you shared your own suggestions below in the comments!

Make a cup of tea. Whenever I feel anxious, making a cup of tea always helps to soothe whatever worry I face. A good cup of tea remedies all ills—well, at least most ills.

Other pragmatic solutions for recovering from the anxiety of this election include: 
  • A trip to the beach 
  • Weekend road trip with your bestie
  • Music jam session with friends
  • Spend time with family and close friends
  • Pray, pray, and pray some more
  • Pray with fellow saints
  • Sing the Psalms 
  • Read and memorize Scripture
I fully intend to do every single one of these things. 

Put things in perspective. It is easy to give into anxiety, to think of the uncertainty of the future of our nation, and to assume the worst will inevitably happen or already has happened. Remember that many presidents have come and gone, many empires have risen and fallen, and many far more wicked rulers have elevated themselves over nations and where are they all now? Remember that our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents saw far more troubling times and yet here you are. Just because this is a scary and new ordeal for you does not mean it is new to the world or more importantly, to God.

Take it a step further. Put things in an eternal perspective. I am a Christian and I firmly believe in the sovereignty of God, that his perfect will guides and governs every detail of this world from his plan of salvation for his people down to the smallest sparrow. I believe God can be taken at his Word—the Bible—and that his promises are sure and true. I believe that, thanks to Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for my sin, I can look forward to enjoying eternal life with my Heavenly Father! And there is nothing on this earth that can take this hope away, not even death. My hope is not in this nation or its leaders and so it cannot be shaken, even though every corner of this world might rage and crumble. I suggest you read Psalm 2 and Psalm 10 this week if you have not already. These events do not surprise or frighten our God and they should not surprise us.

Listen to people and gain understanding. I have seen a lot of terrible names and labels flying around social media as well as violence and rioting in the news and it upsets me, to say the least. I tend to take a diplomatic and moderate approach to basically everything and I am always in favor of hearing both sides of the story and seeking understanding before I make any sort of judgments, especially blanket judgments. Generalizations may contain grains of truth, but are typically inaccurate when applied on an individual level. I have seen good people with strong convictions and love for their country and their fellow man on both sides of this election and it is not fair or just to label one side as inherently evil and the other as good.

Unfortunately social media provides us with a platform to sling mud at one another while distancing ourselves from the reality of our words. Would you think twice about calling names and pronouncing curses and judgments on people if they were standing in front of you? Well some of us could care less, but I hope you would. And I hope you would remember that Jesus commanded us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:43-48).

Some things are worth mourning and some things are not. Take it from someone who has had to seriously grieve. This election, no matter how scary the results might be, is not worth your tears. It might be worth your prayers, your action, your discernment, your voice, your kindness—but not your tears and certainly not your anxiety. Save your tears for something that is really devastating. In the meantime, if you really want to see things change, well then get to work figuring out how you want to change them and do something. For the record, broadcasting your opinion via Facebook statuses and social media doesn’t count as doing something, though there’s nothing wrong with sharing your opinion.

I always tell myself that if I do not have a helpful solution to a problem, then I have no right to complain about the problem. If there is nothing you are willing to do or nothing you are able to do to remedy the situation then please refrain from broadcasting your complaints until you have a constructive solution. We are all so apathetic until it comes time to be outraged about something.

Love your neighbor. An alternative to passively voicing your opinion on social media is going out and loving your neighbor, loving your enemies, and most importantly loving and obeying God. Jesus once instructed us to remove the plank from our own eye before we try and remove the speck from our brother’s (Matthew 7:1-5). I think we could all stand to heed his command. We are all guilty of harboring hatred in our hearts. We are all guilty of unkindness and injustice. We all need more grace than we could ever know. It’s not always easy to remember this, but it is so very necessary, especially now.

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" And [Jesus] said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 22:36-40). 

What are some helpful things you have done in response to this election? What has been your assurance and hope this week? I would love to hear anything you would add to my list of suggestions. 

6 comments :

  1. During the month of November I am doing Scripture Journalism and on Wednesday the verses that I had were Colossians 3:14-17 and I felt that verses 16-17 are a reminder of how we are to act towards each other. Especially after the Election results.

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    1. Megan, that is excellent! I love how God's Word is so providentially perfect for whatever circumstance we find ourselves in.

      Dani xoxo

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  2. I think this is such good advice and I thoroughly appreciate your writing this. I was most shocked by every aspect of this election and it took a few days after the 8th for everything to sink in. Thanks for this post.

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    1. I think the same can be said for pretty much everyone. Thank you so much! It's good to see you on here. :)

      Dani xoxo

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  3. Sounds like some good advice. I did not like either candidate and voted 3rd party, but preferred Trump over Clinton, so I'm just hoping for the best. Some of my friends/family are devastated though. It's sad that regardless of who won, half the country would go into mourning.

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    1. Bethany, same here! It really is surprising how everyone reacted. Apparently we are not very used to being disappointed. :P

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