A Word from Pastor Brad the Day after the Election
This morning, on my way to drop Isaiah off at school, I asked him what he thought about Donald Trump being elected President. Before I tell you his answer, I’d like to tell you that Lisa and I did our best to protect our boys from the vitriol of this election. We tried to change the channel during the attack ads on TV. We tried not to allow our own opinions to color their views, but we also tried to be open and honest when they asked us questions. In the end, exposure was inevitable.
So I asked Isaiah the question knowing that he is a very thoughtful six year old who had inevitably picked up on the general feel of this election. “So Isaiah, what do you think about Donald Trump being elected President?”
“Well, in some of his ads he was kind of nice, and in some of his ads he was mean, so I guess that means he’ll be, you know, kind of in the middle. But I think he has some kindness in his heart, because everyone has some kindness in their hearts.”
Holding back some tears I said, “Thank you son. I needed to hear that.”
Today I needed the reminder that everyone has kindness in their hearts. I needed the reminder that our children know this fundamentally. Whoever was to be elected President last night makes a tremendous difference in our lives and in our world, but I needed the reminder that it doesn’t make all the difference. It also makes a difference that in a season of such toxicity and anger, our children still believe in a better world. My son gave me the reminder that those of us who were asked to have the faith of a child are now given the task: be kind, do not harm the little ones, love one another, love your enemy, go the second mile, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and give to the poor.
You may notice that we ministers of the gospel like to remind everyone of that list of the people Jesus reached out to. I do so because I need to remember it myself. It’s easy, almost effortless in fact, to know in my head that Jesus loved those people, but then in the practice of my life to become totally shielded off from the least of these.
What I learned last night in the surprising results of this election is that we have become shielded off from one another. There is bigotry and hatred and racism and sexism in our country, but there’s also just a large amount of isolation from our fellow Americans who are not like us. We have been yelling at each other and not listening to each other. We have been putting each other in a box instead of seeking to understand. We may or may not need political correctness, but what I know we do need is compassion, empathy and a willingness to listen.
In church over the last weeks I have been teaching that we can resist anxiety by remembering that God is in control. I need to confess to you that I have been carrying anxiety all along. I’m still carrying it. I have anxiety that the anger of this election season will give carte blanche to people who may have kindness in their hearts but nonetheless lash out at the vulnerable. I have anxiety for the way of Jesus in our country – the way of peace and forgiveness and justice for the oppressed. I have anxiety that my sons will lose their beautiful view of the kindness in other people’s hearts.
Do I believe that God is in control? Yes, I believe, but Lord, help me with my unbelief.
May God give us faith like a child’s. The faith that is foolish enough to see the good in everyone and also active and bold enough to work to preserve that good for every last person.
It’s now Wednesday and the election is over. My ultimate hope is not in any political movement or policy but in the God revealed in Jesus Christ. Here in the midst of such uncertainty and on the precipitous edge of deepening, toxic, harmful division, it falls to us who follow Jesus to show the world that there is a love stronger than all our differences and a salvation bigger than every divide between us. I look forward to worshiping with you again this Sunday so that we can continue that work.
In Christ’s Love and Unity,