This political season in America is as scary as any I remember. Two candidates with staggering character flaws, and deep brokenness. The noise on all sides is beyond intense. How did we get to this point?! It all seems so inevitable, like there's nothing we can do.
And not only are the candidates as poor of options as any in recent history. The volume of the rhetoric is higher than at any generation in history, not only because the candidates are spewing it, but because now everyone has their own "megaphone" on social media. And we all collectively watch while millions are yelling back and forth, throwing spite, hate, anger and fear. The media capitalizes on it to draw ratings and increase revenues - corporate greed at the expense of our nation's soul.
But for most of us there is just deep disappointment and a sense that we can all do better. And fear - not just with where we are - but with where we will go if either candidate is elected. Are we setting our world on fire? Is this the end?
For the Christian, there should be an overwhelming and pervasive sense of well being and peace, no matter what goes on in our world.
Here are 4 good reasons why Christians can stay positive and calm even when our world seems to be falling apart:
1. God is Sovereign
Over the chaos of our world, God will always reign Sovereign.
God is writing the story, even the story of our world's leaders (Proverbs 21:1; Daniel 2:21; Romans 13:1). God Sovereignty won't always make sense to us, but the truth of God's Sovereignty should serve to remind us the world will never spin out of God's control.
We need to return to Isaiah's vision of God high and lifted up. Our holy God, high and mighty, who is not surprised when the world rages (Psalm 2:1-6). He alone is holy. He alone is worthy. He alone rules over all.
2. We already know how the story ends
We already know how our story ends. We have an inheritance because of what Christ has done for us. We are headed for glory.
Eric Geiger wrote this past week:
"God has designed the end and the in between. The end is people from every tribe, tongue, and nation gathered around the throne worshipping Him because they were purchased with the blood of Christ (Rev. 5:9–10).
Regardless of what happens this week, what unfolds in the news, the ending has already been made clear: God is redeeming for Himself a people from all peoples."
3. God Calls us to Walk in His Peace
Jesus says in the midst of our troubled political season, and in every other season:
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27)
Judah Smith writes in his book, "How much of the pain and suffering in the world is caused by humans willfully pursuing their own desires? Peace—that essential, elusive, universal need of mankind—is restored to us in Jesus. God’s peace is first and foremost peace with him. It is an internal, spiritual wellness that is the foundation for peace in every other area."
God calls us to walk in His peace, not add our voices to the world's chaos. Now this doesn't mean we shouldn't speak truth to culture. There are times for this, but our tone, motivations and heart should be completely opposite of this world.
Listen to a few challenges from God's Word about how people of peace should live and look:
"It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret." (Ephesians 5:12) God is calling believers today to a greater level of purity. We don't need to hear and pass on everything that others do wrong. We need to take a step back, and live like we are from a different Kingdom all together!
"With our tongue we bless God, and then curse men who are made in the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. This should not be!" (James 3:9-10) Christians cannot be people who curse the darkness, but rather those who light a candle. We don't fight darkness with darkness. We must be people who praise God, and meditate on and say praiseworthy things.
"Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues." (Proverbs 17:28) There is godly wisdom in not responding to everything in our culture. We should have the discipline to hold our tongues and social media posts, and not say everything that comes to our minds.
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9) In this passage, God's peace is not given by default, but by directing our thoughts to what is true, pure and praiseworthy. When we exhibit self control in our thoughts, and don't let culture flood our thoughts with fear and worry, then God's peace will reign in us instead. And we will fundamentally look different in our opinions and responses than the culture around us.
It shows the glory of God when Christians watch culture rage, and yet don't feel the need to speak to all of it. Instead, we weep and pray, simply trusting the One who is sovereign to work on our behalf and glorify His Name in the midst of it all. Instead, we live and act like people of a different Kingdom all together. And the darkness of our time causes our light to shine even brighter. Instead of hate, we promote love. Instead of cutting words, we show honor to all. Instead of lifting up wickedness, we live with utmost purity and do not even defile ourselves by wasting time learning about what our culture does wrong. We live, and breathe and act as those from a different Kingdom.
In order to become this kind of Christian, we start by muting those voices and media in our lives that stir up our anger. We weren't made to live in toxic emotions but in the peace of God. We shut off the TV, unfollow the twitter & facebook accounts that draw us to anger and hatred, and we open the Word of God to gain an eternal perspective - and God's peace invades our weary souls.
4. We believe in a God who redeems the very worst hearts
We serve a God who turns things around. A God of the comeback. A God of the resurrection. And His resurrection power lives and dwells inside of us. Our hope knows no bounds, because it rests in a boundless God!
Half of our New Testament is written by Paul who did worse things than almost anyone in our world today. And God redeemed Him. This is the God we serve!
Throughout human history, God has worked on behalf of His people whose hearts were His. He has done mighty wonders. He has turned nations around. He has moved in power as His gospel was proclaimed. He has built His Church, and the gates of hell have not, nor will ever, prevail against it.
A different way forward
What if we were the people to express our hope and peace in God right now, in the midst of one of the seemingly most confusing and frustrating elections in American history?
What if we showed honor for all politicians and all people - even those on the other side of the aisle (1 Peter 2:17), and stopped adding to the noise of hate, disrespect and warring words.
What if we walked in the peace of God. A calm and stillness in a time where it seems we should be doing anything but this. How would God's peace in us shine the glory of God in a dark world?