The election of 2020 is over, but the tension and turmoil may continue for some time. While many local, state, and U.S. Congress races were called the day of the election, it was not until days later the presidential race was called for President-elect Joe Biden. It also appears that lawsuits and disputes over the election results may continue. Furthermore, several U.S. Senate races are still too close to call.
Our nation is fiercely divided. For some, all this tension and uncertainty creates anxiety, confusion, anger, and suspicion. Or maybe you’ve just checked out. As Christians, how are we to respond to all this tumult in the election and a new administration in the White House? Regardless of any deep political convictions we hold, much of our response is firmly set by our faith. Here are four things we should do:
- Live: I know this is so overly simple, it seems unhelpful, but hear me out. As Christians, we live in exile here on earth, awaiting our eternal home in God’s Kingdom. Yet God calls us to live and serve well in this temporary home. We are “subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God” (Rom 13:1). So, no matter your excitement or disappointment with the outcome of the 2020 election, we need to be the best American citizens we can be: obey the laws, pay taxes, vote, get involved in government, support those who serve and protect us, and be active in the community. But above all else, we remain faithful to our Savior. After this election, we keep doing what we’ve always done. We follow Jesus. We obey his will. We love our families. We invest in the church. We stand up for the voiceless, the oppressed, and the hurting. We speak truth. We spread the good news of Christ. And in all of this, we cry out to God’s Spirit to fill us with faith, love, joy, and peace…no matter what.
- Pray: God hears the prayers of his people, and so we pray for the church, the nation, and the world. We pray that there would be a quick and just resolution to any remaining uncertainties in election results across the country. And we ask God to heal and unify our splintered nation. The Bible calls us to intercede for “kings and all who are in high positions” (1 Tim. 2:2), so we pray that God would give the men and women in public office integrity and wisdom – from the president all the way down to our state and local officials. We pray for leadership and legislation that would facilitate justice, equality, security, and prosperity in our nation and in the world. We pray not only because prayer builds God’s Kingdom, but also because it builds our faith in God and aligns our will to his.
- Give Grace: Our nation seems more divided than ever. The rhetoric in the media and the conversations in our neighborhoods are tense, divisive, and volatile. Even in the church there is stress and division. Some Christians voted Republican, some Democrat, others voted for a third party candidate or a write-in. Everyone thinks they are right, and no one can understand how anyone else thinks differently! When the world is tearing itself apart, can we be humble and give grace to one another? Can we love our neighbors, respect our “opponents,” ask questions before we make judgments, and listen? We must always defend our biblical worldview, but we must do so graciously. As we saw in last week’s blog “Can Disagreeing Christians Fellowship?,” political conviction is an issue of Christian liberty and personal conscience. As the Bible says about another difficult matter of Christian liberty, “each person should be convinced in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5). So, we need to give grace to those who love Jesus and think differently than us on matters of politics. We can’t allow this election to stir up conflict or division in Christ’s church. We need to have humility, give grace, and stand unified in Christ. In light of this, be urged to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1-3).
- Have Hope: With the outcome of this election and the implications at the federal and state level becoming more certain, some in our nation will be relieved and excited, while others will be disappointed, even angry. But no matter the outcome of this or any other election, no matter what triumphs or trials you face as an individual or we face as a nation, as followers of Christ we can always stand in hope. Hope that our Father is in control, that he has a good and sovereign plan for his children. Hope that regardless of who sits in the White House, Jesus sits on the throne. Hope that the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church because Christ has overcome the world, and we will stand with him in victory. Those who sit in the seats of government are important – but no matter who it is, we should not be overly enthusiastic, nor should we be overcome with sorrow. Our hope, our peace, and our joy comes in Christ. Remember, “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Phil. 3:20-21).
How are we to respond to this election? Live. Pray. Give Grace. Have Hope.