How Are You Processing the Presidential Election?

Pastor J.D. shares three words that should guide our post-election posture—empathy, charity, and unity.

A glimpse inside this episode:

Politics matter, but they are not an issue of first importance.

I want to give you three words that should guide our posture after this election (that I learned a few years ago from 1 Peter). Three words that should characterize the church and every follower of Jesus.

Empathy: Seeking to see a situation through someone else’s eyes. Understanding why they think like they do, what motivates them; what creates such passion in them. What were they most concerned about with this election? What justice questions concerned them? What fears motivated them? What fears motivated them? I’m not saying you have to agree with their political calculus, but you can at least try to see it through their eyes as much as possible.

Charity: Charity means assuming the best about them; giving them the benefit of the doubt about their motives. The political discourse in this country trains us to assume the worst of everyone else’s motives even as we demand they assume the best about our own. Based on what you hear, you’d think there are only two options in our society: Marxist or racist; Communist or Fascist. In the church we should be different. As much as we can, we give each other the benefit of the doubt.

Unity: We can and should insist on alignment around biblical values–the sanctity of life and the evil of abortion; the wickedness of racism and all forms of discrimination, the preciousness of religious liberty, the importance of caring for the poor–while allowing disagreement on the political calculus used to pursue those things. And by “political calculus” I mean which candidate will best get the job done and even which issues to prioritize in this election. These are questions we can disagree on and still stand united–not because these political questions are not that important, but because our identity in Christ and our mission to preach the gospel is that much more important.

Church, let’s be united, because the gospel we preach is of the greatest importance and the Great Commission is of highest urgency, Amen?

Let’s be bold–let’s be outspoken on things like the sanctity of life and evils of injustice. Because those evils are real, and they really harm people. We shouldn’t parrot only the virtues associated with one candidate or party, but all biblical virtues. If we’re really followers of Jesus, we should be a little confusing, like we don’t quite fit with one side. Like they can never quite figure us out. If you find yourself only talking about abortion, probably out of balance as a disciple maker. If only about lingering racism, also out of balance. If we are the people who undermine all parties and stand above them, we will speak God’s truth in a way that confronts both.

At The Summit Church, we dedicated a lot of time in the last month to the difficult questions of politics. It’s not my intent to cover all of that ground again. 

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