This morning, much of the nation is waking up bleary-eyed and still in a state of shock. “What. Just. Happened? How? Why? What??”
I know my mind is reeling. It has been all night.
The nation has spoken, and the verdict begs the question, “Where do we even go from here?”
Church, I believe the answer starts with us. A few thoughts to consider on this morning-after:
1. It’s okay to have feelings.
It is no secret that this election cycle was bizarre on so many levels. Hillary muddled through her fair share of controversy. And Trump? By this point, we’re all quite aware of Trump’s propensity to offend. And offend. And offend.
I remember a conversation with a dear friend months ago- a friend who happens to represent one of the minority groups that has been on the receiving end of far too many mean-spirited remarks from our now president-to-be. “It’s scary, Catherine,” she said, speaking to the prospect of a Trump presidency. “I’m so scared, and my family is scared. I just can’t believe that he might actually be our next president.”
It was in that moment that I was struck by my privilege. Sure, I can disagree with policy and disapprove of a person’s character. But I’m a white, able-bodied, American-born woman; Trump has never once made threats against me. And yet, others are not afforded that privilege. They’re waking up this morning feeling deeply hurt. They’re terrified, sad, and angry. They feel threatened.
This is not some emotionally-charged jargon. This is truth. This is reality for many. I know this because I’ve heard these words from the mouths of real people.
So, what? What do we do about it? Well, we need to be mindful of how our friends and neighbors are doing. How they’re processing all of this.
Check on your people. Approach them with the blessed hope that our God is still sovereign- that He is still on His throne- but, first, before you get to that, hear them out. Listen to their stories and their misgivings and their fears. Be okay with people not being okay today.
2. Let’s discipline our tongues and watch our speech.
So, it’s okay to have feelings. And it’s okay to vehemently disagree with a particular leader. But, at the end of the day, Donald Trump is our president-elect. A person. Made in the image of our almighty God. And, as Christ-followers, we’re called to respect and honor our leaders.
One lesson (of so. many. lessons.) this election drove home was the importance of learning to disagree civilly. We certainly didn’t see this modeled from the debate podiums, nor did my Facebook feed display any semblance of disciplined-speech. But is that the final word and example we want to leave for our children? That “free speech” equals freedom to hate? That real leaders yell and bicker and name-call until they can eke out a victory?
Friends, let us not respond to bullying with bullying. Hate with hate. This is not a call to some passive doormat existence. Rather, this is a call to the existence of one whose identity is deeply rooted in the unchangeable character of a loving Savior.
When we consider the unfathomable grace and mercy God has heaped upon us, we can be freed up to heed Michelle Obama’s eloquent words: “When they go low, we go high.”
Let’s hold tight to our convictions. Let’s defend the defenseless. And, my goodness, let’s speak up. But let’s go high and let’s do so with an undercurrent of respect and honor. Let’s do this thing civilly.
3. Feelings are good, and so are words. But, church, let’s get a move on and DO something.
Yesterday, our nation elected a president that has built his following on a promise to build a wall. Who has called Latino immigrants “criminals” and “rapists.” Who said he’d “absolutely” implement a registry for Muslims in our country. Who openly mocked a disabled journalist. Who has made horrific comments about women which he quickly dismissed as “locker room talk.” Whose rhetoric and plans are wildly supported by the Ku Klux Klan.
The people have truly spoken. The state of the union is clear. Our nation is broken.
So, as Christians, what do we do?
We run to the brokenness.
We run to our Latino and Muslim neighbors, we run to local communities of immigrants and refugees, we run to our African American colleagues and friends. We run to them and cry, “We see you. WE SEE YOU! And we’ve got your backs. Even if the government betrays you and others mock you, we will be your people.”
And, then? Then, we follow through and actually BECOME their people.
We dive into organizations like World Relief and start serving and loving local refugees as they get settled and back on their feet.
We do more than just pay lip service to the whole notion of being pro-life. We support lives in the womb, absolutely. But we also support lives post-birth. We walk alongside the mom experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and become her biggest advocate and loudest cheerleader. We foster. We get background checked so that we can babysit for foster parents.
We help our friends search for employment when their husbands- and the primary breadwinners of the family- are deported without warning.
We walk with women who have been the victims of sexual assault and abuse, helping them find safety and healing.
We stand alongside our black brothers and sisters and affirm again and again that black lives do indeed matter.
We show kindness. We speak truth in love. We exemplify mercy and grace.
We point back to Jesus with our words AND our actions.
4. Let’s hold tight to the hope that God IS still sovereign.
Emotions are understandably high. We can be disappointed and we can be shocked and we can feel all of the feelings, but let’s not land there. Let’s land on truth.
Let’s land on the truth that God sent Jesus to die for all of us. For our sin. For our brokenness. Because our sin is just as heinous as that of Clinton and Trump, we are equally in need of a Savior.
Let’s land on the hope that Jesus didn’t stay dead. That he broke the curse of sin and defeated death itself. There is no ruler that will ever match that kind of power and authority. Jesus has already won. He is still in control. And his love has never, not ever, faltered.
Church, what if God has handed us over to this kind of election- this brand of president- for such a time as this?
What if NOW is our time to show the world that we are people who show up?
That we are people who run to the margins.
That we are people whose speech is grace-filled.
That we are people who honor and pray for our leaders even when we disagree.
That we are people who can forgive.
That we are gospel-people. People who know that God’s love for us is secure. People who are convinced that there’s nothing we can do to make Him love us more, and there’s nothing we can do to make Him love us less. People who are so radically changed by this truth that they can’t help but give this kind of love away to others.
The people have spoken. This is our reality. So, let’s get to it.