Posted by: hjelen87 | November 7, 2012

Election 2012: Judgment & Fear

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Throughout this election cycle, and more specifically since the results started pouring in yesterday, I’ve seen two disappointing things from people, especially from Christians: judgment and fear.

Facebook is interesting during an election season.  It is an easy way for a person to share their views on issues and candidates, but views are shared through sound bites, which don’t tell the whole story.  A person might say that they voted for a certain candidate, but what is harder to convey via a Facebook status or comment is why, exactly, they voted for that person.  In my experience, it is often more complicated than people assume.  While it’s true that some people vote for a candidate because they agree with all of that person’s views, instead, it frequently involves a precarious balancing act of which issues are most important and which candidate’s imperfect plan might yield the best results.

But what I’ve seen in the past few days has been people making assumptions and jumping to judgment.  I know of someone being chastised for giving up her values after the person made an assumption (which happened to be wrong) about whom she voted for.  I’ve seen sore winners, who attacked the character of those on the losing side and boasted in being better.  I’ve seen sore losers, who accused those supporting the winner of simply following the crowd and having no morals.  It’s interesting how so many people say they are frustrated with politicians for all of the name-calling, and then they do the same thing to those who disagree with them.

As a Christian, I am called to love others, including my enemies.  While I don’t think of those who disagree with me politically as “enemies,” many people do.  And I am not seeing much love.  Paul tells us “to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:2).  We need to stop rushing to judge others based solely upon whom they voted for in an election.  I would encourage you to have a real conversation with someone who voted differently than you.  Ask them to explain why they voted the way they did.  It is easier to love others and avoid judgment when we get away from the computer screen and engage other people face-to-face.  Having a civil discussion with someone who disagrees with you politically might not change anyone’s mind on the issues, but I guarantee it will make it harder for you to judge and name-call.

The second thing I’ve been saddened to see from so many Christians since the election ended is fear.  People are truly afraid that this country is going to be destroyed because Obama won re-election.  I have two responses to this fear.  First, I think many people are believing a lie that the President of the United States is more powerful than he actually is.  While it is true that the President can do a lot, there is so much that he cannot do.  He cannot unilaterally enact legislation.  He cannot overturn Supreme Court cases.  He cannot amend the Constitution.  While he may be able to influence some of these things, people need to realize that in four or eight years, there is a good chance that not much will change.  And while people seem to lament this fact when “their guy” gets elected and isn’t getting anything done, they often seem to forget it when “the other guy” gets elected, thinking that he is going to change everything for the worse.

My second response to this fear is that, if you believe that an almighty God created the universe and everything in it, and if you believe that the Bible is true, then why are you so afraid of one person getting elected President of one country for four years?  The Bible says “Do not fear” many, many times (see, e.g. Isaiah 41:10).  It also says “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.  The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:6-8).  So I would encourage you to remember that God is the all-powerful, omnipotent, infinite creator of the universe, and that Barack Obama (along with every other politician) is a man.  And as it says in Psalm 118:6, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?”

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