Election-Sized Grace & Peace
Nothing brings out the crazy in people like an election. We're all witnesses to it right now as we travel together through the last days of what has been a contentious, divisive, and anxiety-inducing presidential election. It's the worst one we've seen---since the last one.
Having said that, I've noticed that a lot more Christians do seem to be divided in this election, perhaps more than I can remember in previous ones. I've seen exchanges between people on my Facebook feed that use language like, "How could say you are a Christian and vote for _______________?"
I think that part of the problem that we have in American Christian culture right now is that we've used the wrong set of rules and guidelines to determine who/what we perceive as right/wrong. The Church seems to be caught up in using rules of political power, of dominance and triumphalism rather than looking to the Cross.
As a result, Christians of all stripes seem to be struggling to embody grace and peace. And people are taking notice. When Christians are calling the faith of their brothers and sisters in Christ into question because they disagree with their political leanings, it doesn't happen in a vacuum.
Friedrich Nietzche, the German philosopher and critic, famously said, "Christians will have to look more redeemed for me to believe in [Christianity]."
Don't get me wrong, I think that Christians should get involved in politics, should vote their conscience and convictions, and should advocate for issues of justice, morality and goodness in the world. But when we do so in graceless ways toward one another, we do violence to the Gospel and we tarnish our witness to the world.
Philip Yancey once wrote, "Moralism apart from grace solves little."
Jesus once told a parable about a servant who owed his master a vast sum of money. He begged for the master to absolve him from his debt since he had no way to pay it. The master did out of mercy. No sooner than he'd been forgiven, however, the servant found a peer that owed him a little bit of money, and had the guy thrown in jail until he could pay him. When the master found out, he said this:
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’
We need to all remember that we are sinners saved by grace, and that God fully expects us to show the same kind of unconditional grace to others--even in moments of deep disagreement.
May you find ways to show grace to those with whom you disagree with today. May you demonstrate Christian love and forbearance in ways that embody the grace of God to a divided culture. May you discover new ways to be united in love with those who are on the Way of Jesus with you.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
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