Four years ago, following the 2016 election, I wrote a piece for the Weekly Updates as I contemplated what effect the election results would have on the next fours years, especially in consideration of the division among citizens of our nation becoming increasingly evident; a divide causing deep rifts between friends, family members, and even fellow Christians. Today, I reviewed the paragraph from four years ago and remembered comments that were made about the election results then. Not surprisingly, many comments post-election 2020 are very similar to those voiced four years ago, differing primarily in that the individuals making comments were on a different side of the election outcome. Some people are thrilled, some are dismayed and some angry, as was the case in 2016. All Christians have a responsibility to be a source of healing for the division and broken relationships that differing political views have fueled. There is one big difference in 2020: the presence of a health crisis that enshrouds the world heightening concern, anxiety and fear. Few people, if any, envisioned the world dealing with a pandemic like COVID-19, although we knew one was possible. Our daily lives have been altered dramatically. The manner in which we work, manage our households, worship, and interact with family and friends are so different now than even a year ago. We need each other more now than ever, and we need to focus on the aspects of our lives that bind us together.
Jesus called his Disciples to follow him, and in like manner we are also called to follow him. An election does not change who we are as individual believers. It does, however, give cause for us to examine our lives and consider how we respond to those who hold different views and have different feelings about the election outcome. His teachings in the beatitudes speak to how we view and relate to God, ourselves and others. Later in scripture, Jesus gives his disciples the new commandment, “to love one another even as he has loved us,” which embodies a great reversal in human inclinations. We are recipients of God’s grace, his “unmerited favor;” and therefore, how we relate to all people, and especially other believers, can only be fully understood in light of his grace. We must not only speak the words of Jesus’ new commandment, but live them daily. In so doing, we will move closer to understanding and practicing the words of the prophet Micah:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8