“But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants” John 3:21 (NLT).
Last week I mustered up the strength to watch our last debate of this current political season. Many would ask, why bother? What is the point in listening to all of the name calling, mudslinging and sidestepping over the important issues concerning the future state of our country?
As much as I dread listening to it and watching it, I do also feel an obligation as a citizen of this country to use my voice and decide which candidate is best suited for the Office of President of the United States. After all, people gave their life just so that we have the right to use our voice. Our forefather’s fought tirelessly and diligently for this right, as well.
Having said that, I also chose to turn on the television to watch the debate after my son went to bed. Because, sadly, I knew there would be words and ideas expressed that are just not appropriate for his sensitive ears and impressionable eight-year old mind. It is frustrating, because as a parent, you’d like your children to be able to witness democracy at work. However, in these current times, it certainly doesn’t feel as if democracy is working at its best.
So, what is the answer? Do we just refuse to make a choice, because we don’t like our choices? Do we base our choice on the one issue that matters the most to us and ignore the rest? Do we just leave and move to another country?!?! It can leave one feeling helpless and hopeless over the responsibility of deciding who best would serve this country in the role of our President.
My Bible study time in the Second Book of Corinthians, Chapters 4 through 8, focuses on our responsibility as God’s children to give generously of ourselves in living out our faith as believers. In Chapter 8 of this book, Paul tells of the generosity displayed by the people in Macedonia in giving to help further the church. It is important to note that these people lived in extreme poverty. The churches were taken over by Rome and all of their wealth was conquered.
Paul explains to the Corinthian believers the level of generosity that the people of Macedonia had, in order to encourage them to display the same kind of generosity. “For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do” 2 Corinthians 8:3-5 (NLT).
These people gave “far more” than what they could afford and they “begged” for the privilege of sharing their gifts. Paul also notes that this kind of generosity is a reflection of the love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has for us by becoming man and offering us eternal life, “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich” 2 Corinthians 8:9 (NLT).
The kind of love that Paul speaks of here is truly humbling. When I look at the current state of our world, it is not my first inclination to respond to it in a gracious manner. Sadly, my inclination is to want to turn off the news, cover my ears and hide under the bed covers until it’s all over.
However, I don’t think that is the proper response to the situation. We are all a part of this world and it is foolish to think that one person or even a whole group of people can tackle the overwhelmingly enormous amount of crises our nation faces today. So, where does that leave us? How do we move forward in the upcoming weeks as we face the decision of who our new President will be?
I believe the answer lies in the pages of these chapters. As Paul so eloquently points out in chapter 5, “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’ For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (NLT).
“We are Christ’s ambassadors,” means that we represent Christ. If our nation were to turn to God and mirror the same kind of generosity that Christ so graciously displayed to us, than what a better place it could be! One of my favorite songs is “Imagine,” by John Lennon. As he says, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will be as one.”
As I approach Election Day, looking at it through this kind of lens does leave me hopeful. Does it make me less fearful or more sure of who I want to see in office? No, not necessarily. However, there are things I can do that will help the situation rather than make it worse.
I can give. Giving doesn’t just have to do with money – it also has to do with time. Writing this blog is a way I can use my gift to hopefully draw someone closer to God and connecting to His word.
I can show grace. I might not agree with others’ opinions on the issues, but instead of whining and complaining, I can recognize that these are not perfect people. All of our leaders need grace – no matter how hard it might be to give it. I can use my own God-given gifts to make a difference. I might not agree with others’ opinions on the issues, but I can still use my voice and take a stand on whom I believe would best suit the office of the Present of the United States. The rest is not up to me – it is God’s to handle. Praise Him for that.
I can pray. There are things that will happen outside of my control that do not honor God. I can choose to get angry and stew about those things or I can lift up my anxieties to the only one in control and call upon Him.
With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, it is important to remember why we are here. It is to love one another and to be Christ’s “ambassadors.” It is only then that this world can truly become a place where, as Lennon puts it, we can all be as one.
Father God, There is so much fear and trepidation over who will be best suited to run our country. Let us remember Your Word, as it tells us, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT). You are in control over everything. You are the light in the darkness and we need only to turn toward You to seek answers. Please guide our leaders and us, as Your people, to shine the same light and make a difference in the way that You intended us to. We ask this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.