Dear Christian friends:
I’m watching the world discuss politics. We all know this is a strange election cycle. It has been filled with drama, with surprising votes, with anger and hostility. Unfortunately, too much of that hostility has come from us. Christian friends. People who claim to believe men are made in the image of God. People who think it’s cool to walk up to strangers and tell them God loves them. People who are told to pray for their leaders and love their enemies.
And yet, I see mockery every day. Sure, we have to consider the character of the next president. Sure, we can discuss their worthiness, their philosophies, their political prowess. God doesn’t mind us choosing our leaders wisely.
However, I am ashamed of us. We mock. I have seen post after post mocking these men and women. Trump is a human made in God’s image. So is Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Sanders. Mrs. Trump. But it feels like open season on them. Let any of them say or do one stupid or embarrassing thing, and suddenly we’re not discussing their worthiness to lead. We’re mocking them as though they are not made in the image of God.
Don’t get me wrong. There are people I just listed whom I want to mock. People who rub me so far the wrong way that it’s scary, and I don’t want to love and pray for them. So I’m not talking to you from some position of success. I have to be careful, too. I have to remind myself that even the worst of us are made in God’s image, and we should weep for their hearts and pray for their lives and hope God calls them and covers their sins with the blood of his son.
Because isn’t that the hope? Can you honestly say you’d like to see all our leaders cling to Jesus and reside forever in his glory? My answer is no. I can be spiteful. I want to see the bad ones pay for being the bad ones. God is not impressed with my attitude. I know it. This is definitely a work in progress.
I was born sinful. As far from Jesus as it was possible to be. All of us were. And His blood was shed–a huge, monumental sacrifice–for me. And for all the other wrecks of humanity he chose to save. I don’t think he’s finished pulling wrecks of humanity to his bosom, covering them with the blood of his son and loving them with an amazing, everlasting love.
So if he does that, do I want to have to admit I mocked those people he loves? Do I want to say no, I never prayed for them. I never showed them respect as his creation. Instead, I joked about their mistakes, laughed at their sins, made people who cared for them feel ridiculous, and otherwise did my best to spread dislike for these people. Not just for their politics, but for them as humans.
Honestly, I don’t want to say all those things to God. I want to know that, if those running for office this year cling to God, I can feel like I’m part of that. I can know I prayed for that. I can rejoice with them and not need to apologize to them for dismissing their humanity. (Right now I’m making a huge judgment call and thinking most of them don’t give an outward appearance that they love God with all their hearts, souls, and minds. And if they suddenly seem to do that, I hope I have an open enough mind to rejoice with them and not hold past discretions against them.)
I don’t normally post mocking things on social media. But I think them sometimes. I say them to family sometimes. I don’t honor all those around me as image bearers of God. I don’t weep for their souls and want them to have the best God can give, namely the blood of Jesus washing them clean. I need to change my attitude. Sometimes I mock out of fear, because it scares me to think of some of these people as leaders. Sometimes I do it because my peers do it. But mostly, it just shows that I haven’t yet learned to value humans as God does.
And that needs to change. Maybe this is the right time to do that. Maybe we can remember that the Trumps and the Sanders and the Clintons and all the other people running for public office have souls. Spirits. Hearts. They can be hurt. They have human emotions and weaknesses. And maybe I should have compassion, even if they don’t seem worthy. God had compassion on me when I wasn’t worthy. I doubt my compassion will ever change these people. But it will change me. And I will be closer to God, and perhaps he will answer me when I cry for the souls of our leaders, our leader wannabes, and others we mock in the news.
I’m with you, Christian friends. I know this has been a strange ride. But let’s let God use it to change us. And when God changes us, love is always the outcome. Always.