I’ve spent far too much time over the last few days scrolling through my social media feeds. All of the despair, anger and hatred I have seen has moved me deeply. I see people hurting, feeling fearful and trying to sort through their anger and disappointment. And I understand it. The United States is in a hard place. This election, more so than any other I can recall, ran on accusations, blame-shifting, name calling and insults. Some of that the candidates directed at one another, and some they leveled at groups of American citizens.
Since Donald Trump was declared the winner of the 2016 presidential election, we have seen fellow Americans react in all different ways. Some celebrating, others mourning. Some lashing out in anger, others taking the victory as license to bring a variety of prejudices to the surface.
And as sad as this makes me, it has also caused me to deeply realize something else.
These presidential candidates, our president elect may have opened the door for hatred and racism and bigotry to rise to the surface (certainly these cards were played frequently during the campaign), but these ideas, beliefs and tendencies already existed within us as a people. Donald Trump did not bring racism or sexism to the United States. Yes, these months of campaigning have shone a spotlight on these deplorable qualities, but this election was not the starting point for any of them.
And that truth brings me back to Jesus. I am reminded, for millionth time this year, that we are so, so sinful at our core. That prejudice is inherent within the soul of mankind. That we search for someone, anyone, to blame for our troubles. That we fear those who are different.
And that ALL OF THESE THINGS are sin.
So when I think about how we, as a nation, can begin the work of healing, I am pointed to my own home. I can teach my children to show love and respect to everyone they meet. I can teach them that all human beings were masterfully created in the image of the Most High God and are deserving of respect and dignity. I can teach my son that he has value as a black man, my daughter that she has value as a woman. I can model these truths for them on a daily basis. I can choose, in all things, to act from a foundation of love and grace, demonstrating to my children how all human beings should treat one another.
And in doing this, I can pray that the rising generation will be one that loves one another.
Because we can disagree on policy and politics, but we cannot afford to hate and rally against anyone and everyone who doesn’t see things our way. Especially if we claim Christ as our King.
The message of Christ is rooted in love. He came because of God’s deep and abiding love for us. Love sent Him to the cross where He would sacrifice His own life for those who hated Him, rallied against Him. That is the kind of selfless love to which Christ followers are called, not just for those who already share our beliefs, but for every human on the face of the earth.
Imagine what would happen if the church lived that way.