This story is a follow up to a previous story written by Pastor Jason Neese and his assistant, Tammy Waite. To read that story, click here.
The election has ended. Donald Trump is our President elect. The Christian right believe their prayers were answered. The Christian left fear that the church abandoned their morals to gain power. There is tension on the streets of America and tension within the church.
On election night, I (Tammy here) received a text from Jason after the final results were in that said, “Glad we are on the same team. We are better together.” No gloating. No “You lost sucker!” - just grace and kindness. He set the tone for peace between us.
Half the nation mourns. The church is as divided as the rest of the populous. Do we sit idly by and watch the country rip itself to shreds?
What do we know that America doesn’t? That neither side is completely right or completely wrong. That if we work together we can help each other understand the other side’s concerns.
The election is over, but nothing is settled. America is still deeply divided. The electoral college went to Trump. At present, the popular vote favors Clinton. There is tension in America brought about by those confusing numbers. She got more votes. He won the Presidency. How is that possible?
The electoral college was set into our system to ensure the person running for president had to appeal to a broad range of voters. If an election was held on popular vote alone, why would a presidential candidate ever step foot in any small town in America? Elections would be won and lost in the metropolis’ of the world and everyone in the middle of our nation would be voiceless and forgotten. The electoral college seeks to ensure a candidate has to appeal to a movie star in California, a corn farmer in Iowa, an auto worker in Michigan, a retired person in Florida, a college student in Ohio, and every other walk of life coast to coast.
How can you become a peacemaker and help bridge the divide?
Knowing that has not quelled the anger of a frustrated majority who feels their votes were negated for an antiquated system. There is violence on our streets and the church is strangely quiet. Our system has only produced this outcome a few times in American history and is still more fair than an out and out popularity contest.
The results stand. Donald Trump is our president elect. Half the nation celebrates. Half the nation mourns. The church is as divided as the rest of the populous. Do we sit idly by and watch the country rip itself to shreds? No. We are called to be peacemakers.
How can you become a peacemaker and help bridge the divide?
Do not assume you know what another person believes on any issue by the way they voted. Elections are complex. They do not boil down to a singular issue. If you want to know why a person voted a certain way, ask. This election, people who voted for the Democratic candidate were called baby killers. People who voted for the Republican candidate were called racists. Don’t assume the worst about your fellow Christian. This is the perfect time to begin a dialogue with someone you love. Find out their story and how they came to their decision.
Listen. When someone is explaining their position to you, don’t think about your rebuttal to their reasoning. Do your best to understand their heart. Genuinely hear them. If you still disagree with their stance, agree to disagree, be at peace with one another.
Don’t fear the worst. Think about elections past and the doom and gloom that accompanied them. For instance, consider the claims made about the previous administration never came to pass. Obama never took anyone’s guns away. There were no “death panels” in Obamacare. It was all rhetoric to motivate a voter base. Political parties aim to stay in power and they do that by finding out what scares their party’s voters and accusing the other candidate of it. We must also assume that the things we most fear from Trump’s campaign rhetoric will probably never happen.
If the thing you fear does happen, you still have a voice. While both sides must work for a peaceful transfer of power, that doesn’t mean you have to blindly accept policies our new president make that go against your conscience. If the President takes an action after he is sworn in that is against your belief system, by all means, make your voice heard. Jesus was a protestor against injustice. He was a person who shook up existing systems. He modeled this for us, so we can deduce that He wants His believers to stand up for injustice. But do it peacefully in love, without violence, without bloodshed, without becoming part of the problem.
Watch your words. People frequently say things they should not say when they think no one else is listening. But everyone is listening. These thoughtless words break people’s hearts every day. These words wound people and cause them to turn away from the church. Don’t sit at Starbucks and slander the LGTB community because the person next to you might have an LGTB child. You’re breaking their heart. Don’t stand in line at Disneyland and brand an entire political party as racist because the person next to you may have voted that way and their heart is broken by your judgement.
Examine you heart. If unkind words of judgement and hate are coming out of your mouth, they are rooted in your heart. Ask yourself why. What can you do to change your preconceived notions about people different than you? How can you learn to understand the experiences of a Muslim person, a factory worker who lost their job, an immigrant, a military veteran, a gay person, a person battling a life threatening disease whose life depends on their insurance, a pregnant teen who can’t care for their child, etc? How can you become the bridge that leads those people to Jesus instead of having them feeling forgotten and rejected by the church?
Exodus 23:9 “You must not oppress foreigners. You know what it’s like to be a foreigner, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt”
Luke 6:42 How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
1 John 3:15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Luke 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
By Jason Neese and Tammy Waite
Jason currently serves as the Rock Church’s Associate Campus Pastor at Point Loma. Jason supports Family Ministries, which includes: College, Young Adults, Marriage, Men’s Women’s and Military. He and his wife Britton (who he is crazy about) have four kids (who are crazy about their dad).
Tammy currently serves as the Rock Church’s Assistant to Jason Neese, Associate Campus Pastor at Point Loma. Tammy and Jason support Family Ministries, which includes: College, Young Adults, Marriage, Men’s Women’s and Military. She is madly in love and married to Jeff who also serves at the Rock in the IT Department.