None of my Facebook or Twitter friendsâ€™ posts read, â€œCongratulations Senator-Elect Rand Paul!â€ last night.
This morning, that realization served to remind me that this country is segregated and polarized, and I am part of the problem.Â Of my friends and acquaintances who share their political, social or religious views, very few disagree with me.Â I think non-Christians slightly outnumber Christians among my various circles, but other than that, weâ€™re pretty homogenous, and on the religious front, we respectfully disagree.
I keep wishing that more of the country would disagree respectfully, but it doesnâ€™t happen, and I canâ€™t say that the times that Iâ€™ve caught myself wishing a permanent, catastrophic rain cloud on those I see as the unjust, stupid, ignorant, short-sighted, prejudiced or evil have helped the cause.Â Nor have the times Iâ€™ve chosen to put my headphones on or turn up my music when overhearing a conversation in public that makes me angry.Â And although I disliked them for a number of other, highly valid and understandable reasons, I chose to completely ignore the coworkers who listened to Rush Limbaugh at work instead of ask them why they believed what they believed.
Now that â€œtheyâ€ have taken over the House, I have to get my spirit right.Â I reminded myself of four things this morning:
- God is sovereign.Â No matter what the electorate chooses, God is ultimately in control.Â I donâ€™t know if heâ€™s helping us to hurry Jesus back or if heâ€™s telling us that we free-spirited Christians had better adjust our view of his character, but heâ€™s in control.
- I follow a book that instructs me to love my enemies, bless those who curse me and do good to those who hate me (Matt 5).Â I just hate the thought of thinking of others who claim to be Christian as my enemies, because I shouldnâ€™t, not when Jesus prayed that we be united, not when disagreementsâ€”serious disagreements, like those that cause long-time friends to go their separate ways or members of a congregation to leave a churchâ€”were not unheard-of in biblical times (see Acts 15) and not when solving those disagreements is possible.Â But I also find it disturbing that while we agree that Jesus died for us, our interpretations of how to apply his living to our own lives, decisions and socio-economic policies are vastly different.Â I guess the key here is to know who the real enemy is (Eph. 6).
- My homogenous associations are petty!Â Really, how is that different from what everybody else is doing?Â God loves everyone.Â Good people get sun and rain; bad people get sun and rain.Â And food, shelter, wealth, hunger, homelessness and poverty are somewhat impartial, too.Â God loves everyone, so I should, too.Â (Matt 5:43-48, my paraphrasing)
- I can do what Iâ€™m supposed to do, no matter what anyone else does.Â Therefore, Iâ€™ll be in prayer that our elected leaders proceed with a good conscience and that they have no peace until they do what theyâ€™re supposed to do.
And on that fourth thing: Am I supposed to engage in radical intellectual discourse with those whose views I donâ€™t like?Â Hmm.Â Let me get that anger thing under control first and work on loving from a distance until then.