Innocently scrolling through Facebook the other night, I came across an article posted by a friend that intrigued me. The author of the article claimed to be able to discern characteristics of the supporters of one of the candidates based solely on the fact that they were planning to vote for that candidate. I clicked open the article, assuming I’d see statistics and demographics.
I was sorely mistaken.
The article made huge sweeping (and cruel) assumptions about all that candidate’s voters based on nothing but stereotypes. It would have been hilarious if it hadn’t been so insulting. The article’s sole purpose was to shame half the voters in America.
You’re guessing which candidate it was, aren’t you? But does it really matter? If you’re planning to vote for Clinton, does that make you a lying America-hating murderer? If you’re planning to vote for Trump, does that make you a money-grubbing, mean-spirited xenophobe? Are the voters really guilty of all the worst things the candidates been accused of?
Let’s face it: Not even the candidates can be guilty of everything they’ve been accused of. This campaign cycle is nothing but a battle of the barbs, where soundbites have become headlines as if they’re actually news.
Where does that leave voters? Many of us feel we’ve been given two lousy options. So we’ve considered the candidates, maybe even prayed about our decision, and made a choice.
I commend everybody who’s planning to vote, even if you don’t enthusiastically support your candidate. Voting is our civic duty, and letting everyone else make the crucial decision about who leads our nation the next four years doesn’t seem like a wise move. All the people who’ve decided to, as some have said, “hold my nose and vote for [insert candidate here],” have now become targets of people like the one whose article I read the other night.
What bothered me most about the article, even more than the ridiculous claims it made, was the fact that a friend had posted it. Have we really come to that as a nation? Have we become people who hurl hate at our friends because they’re supporting a rival candidate? Whatever happens on November 8th, on November 9th, I fear the ground will be littered with the tattered remains of former friendships, ripped apart by the vitriolic language spewed for months on end.
At the end of this election cycle, God will still be sovereign, and it is He who chooses our leaders (see Romans 13:1). Yes, we Americans will vote–as well we should–but the final choice is God’s. Is this election really worth losing friends over? It is worth losing business associates? Is it worth all this hate?
In John 13:35, Jesus tells his followers, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Our job is not to win arguments. Our job is not to shame or insult our enemies. Our job is to love even those who disagree with us. It’s getting harder and harder to respond with love during this heated campaign season, but I will keep trying to respond with love or, at least, silence. If all believers choose love, imagine the impact we can have on the nation. Imagine how we can stand out in the crowd of haters.
Maybe that’s what Jesus had in mind.
*Image by Philip James de Loutherbourg
Robin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.
If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.
Connect with Robin at robinpatchen.com