The winner of last week’s giveaway of a free MP3 of my message Staying Afloat in a Sea of Stress is Carol who posted on November 6, 2012 at 10:35am. If this is you, send me an email to claim your prize!
Last week’s presidential election left our entire country reeling with emotion. Some balancing emotions of joy and celebration, while others juggling emotions of disappointment, frustration and even anger.
In every type of race – whether it is a race for a job, a bicycle race, a Nascar race, a marathon or a race for an office – there is always a winner, and always a loser.
Unfortunately, when we feel like we’re holding the ‘loser’ card in any situation, emotions will erupt with great force. And when it comes to wanting the best for our beloved country, emotions and opinions can run stronger and higher than in any other case because both sides feel their way is the right way, their choices are best, and their beliefs should take precedence.
Last week I read a lengthy conversation (a.k.a. argument) between a couple of women on Facebook who were intent on defending their opposing political views and preferred candidates at all costs – even friendship. It was obvious that one leaned more towards liberal beliefs, while the other leaned towards a more conservative view – yet both were Christians.
Each woman surely had justified reasons for their opinions, and strong convictions to defend their beliefs. Yet it is those strong opinions and convictions that cause division among people, a lack of unity in our country, and a flood of anger to fill the places in our hearts that were formerly filled with God.
Division is exactly what the enemy of this world is hoping for, and exactly what we are warned about in the Bible many times.
One example is found in 1 Corinthians 1:10 where Paul is talking to the people of the church. He says “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” The people were in support of different leaders, and quarreling amongst each other because of their difference of opinions. Here Paul is reminding the believers in Christ that they should have a unity similar to that of blood brothers and sisters.
Not that they all had to agree on everything, but that they would be conscious of not letting their differences of opinions cause them to sin, or cause division in the family of God. Paul says again in Philippians 2: 2-5 “….. then make my joy complete by being likeminded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose…Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
But let’s face it – it’s hard to avoid division – especially when it comes to politics. It’s hard for those holding the ‘loser’ card to smile and accept defeat gracefully. It’s hard to be positive when the candidate you believed in is not elected. It’s hard to let one’s sense of loss and disappointment make us bitter, hopeless, and angry. And it’s even harder to feel hopeful about the future and push aside fears when it feels like the moral and ethical ways of Jesus are being mocked and disregarded.
For those who hold the “winner” card, it’s often hard to have true compassion and mercy for those who lost. It’s hard to avoid letting pride override sensitivity. It’s hard to avoid letting feelings of victory imply disregard for someone else’s feelings of disappointment.
Whether we are a “winner” or a “loser”, all of this hard stuff can cause anger in our hearts, and it’s important to acknowledge when we are dealing with feelings of anger so that we can pray about them. But just as important as acknowledging when our anger is rising up, is acknowledging that anger causes division in the family of God…….unless we consciously choose to ask God to empower us to rise above emotions and opinions, and act and react in ways that glorify Him.
We may not all be in support of the same political party or candidate, but as Christians, we are all in support of the same Sovereign God. The God who we can trust in all things, whether we feel like a winner or a loser. The God who is not surprised by the outcome of any election, because He either allowed it, or He caused it, based on His perfect plan.
As believers in Christ, we are not only called to respect our leaders in office, whether we voted for them or not (Romans 13:1-7) but we are called to trust that God has a purpose and a plan for all things (Jeremiah 29:11). When we come together as one, in One, we are equipped to handle our anger in a way that would be pleasing to Christ and promote unity with those around us, while simultaneously increasing our faith as we wait expectantly to see God at work.
Anger over political disappointments is normal, and when it causes division, especially among Christians, the devil rejoices in that division. He wants to destroy families – including the family of God. But we have the power in Christ to prevent that from happening, if we all consciously choose to put our faith in God, and not in man.
No matter who sits in the Oval office, Jesus will always be sitting on the Throne.
* To read a blog post from earlier this year about dealing with anger, click here: 7 Ways To Know When Anger Is Sin
* For additional encouragement on dealing with anger over the election, consider looking up these verses and praying about them.
Ephesians 5:1-2; Ephesians 6:10-11; 1 Timothy 3:7; Proverbs 14:16-17; Proverbs 14:29; Proverbs 19:11; Ecclesiastes 7:9; James 1:19-20