As I’ve watched our nation respond to the election this week, I felt it was important to take time to encourage and challenge the team I serve alongside with a reminder of how we all can (and must) live as ministers of the Gospel of Reconciliation in this season.
I wrote the following to the men and women I have the great privilege of calling teammates at Heritage Church serving in the Quad Cities, but I believe the sentiments bear relevance for all who follow Jesus in America today.
So I humbly share these words here in the hope that they may also be a source of encouragement and perspective for you.
Since the outcome of the Presidential Election was announced, I’ve observed with great sadness an increase in adversarial responses from both sides of the political divide. What’s even more heartbreaking is that I’ve seen much of the same level of disunity and conflict playing out in the body of Christ. That should not be.
So as our nation processes Tuesday’s results, we will be positioned to help our church family in that journey. Keep in mind that as a result of the election, some of our people will have more voice and some will have less voice. Some will feel further behind on issues or concerns they face, and some will feel further ahead.
With that said, I wanted to take a moment to simply remind each of us to live as ministers of the Gospel of Reconciliation. [ref. 2 Corinthians 5:11-21] So let’s:
1) Keep dependence and primary authority where it belongs: Make sure you continue to promote Jesus and not politics, parties or Presidents. Our identity is in Jesus, not a political party. Our unity is in Jesus, not the outcome of an election. So live as Citizens of Heaven while being residents of earth. [Philippians 3:20]
2) Be known by Love: We are to be known by our love, not our vote. [ref. John 13:35] So love well. Don’t devalue people in your responses, comments or actions. Lift Jesus as you love people. Heed John Wesley’s counsel:
“…2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.” ― John Wesley (October 6, 1774)
3) Take time to pray: Pray for those in authority and those who will be in authority [ref. 1 Timothy 2:1-3]; and live in submission to established authority as described in Romans 13. I realize there is complexity in that, but our FearLess sermon series was designed to help us navigate that. If you missed that conversation, you need to take time to review it online to know how God calls us to live as holy people in our day; and so we, as ministry team members, can speak appropriately about these things with those around us.
Take time to pray that God will move mightily in our nation. Take time to lament that we are not living as one nation under God. Consider using Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9 as a starting point. The election did not fix what’s broken in our world. It was never going to. Only Jesus Christ can do that. So let’s keep our eyes fixed on Him. Advocate Him…not a position. Promote Jesus…not a party.
The truth is our nation is highly divided. That also means our cities are divided, and our church family is also divided over some of the same political and cultural issues. So let’s be reconcilers. Whether we are encouraged or discouraged after Tuesday, we are the people of God. We need to be about the business of God…the mission of God; and that did not change on Tuesday.
Believing in you.
“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:7