Loveys, we're a divided people. I'm somewhat obsessed with watching MSNBC right now, so I know this to be true. Don't worry, I'm not about to get super political, but I do want to talk a little about what it looks like to come together, and what I don't think it looks like.
It's not about telling people they need to think just like you.
It's not about trying to make someone else's opinion invalid because it doesn't match yours.
Jeff went to caucus here in Colorado last night, and he actually spoke out loud against what he felt was illogical thinking. That's what the caucus was for, really--sharing perspectives and learning what delegates stand for. It can be done without shouting and screaming and making your neighbors and friends feel like if they don't agree with you, you think they are completely stupid. To me, that comes across as self-righteousness, which doesn't help at all. To some level, we can't help what we feel, but we can help what we say to the people around us (or online).
I live in Colorado, where there are definitely lots of people from both ends of the spectrum. Jeff and I have super conservative friends and super liberal friends. We usually fall in the middle. I have strong political views, but I rarely talk about them with friends here, because you just never know if someone will agree with you, or if they'll hate you afterward (which is a shame). I've been overwhelmed by Facebook lately. Here's why. Probably 75% of my friends on Facebook are Christians. Yet their political posts actually call people insane and crazy who don't agree with them. This is from both sides. It gets messy and it hurts feelings.
That makes me frustrated. I know people who are feeling the Bern and I know people who are choosing Cruz. And no matter where I land with voting, I'm not going to call my friends stupid or insane or act as though their opinion is completely invalid because it's different from mine. People choose candidates for different reasons. Nor do I want to post things that make it seem as though I see my opinion and perspective as superior to other people. I'm an American, and I'm super proud of that. I love my country. I'm so thankful I have the right to vote. Obviously, I'm going to vote for who I want, no matter what anyone else's Facebook post says. But if my state happens to go for the candidate I don't choose, that doesn't make me ashamed to live here. I'll be disappointed, but it is what it is. I have the freedom to choose who I want to support--that's a blessing. I don't care who Hollywood celebrities support. Honestly, I'm not even easily swayed by high-profile authors or pastors. I'm okay with hearing their opinions, but when it comes down to it, I'll choose my candidate based on my perspective on who will be best for our country and my belief system. (And my choice might look different from yours, and that's okay. I have my reasons and I'm sure you have yours.)
Elections are highly emotional things. And I actually really enjoy following the season. I get hooked on news networks, and I watch the debates. I follow lots of candidates on Twitter. This has been a fascinating race so far. After the caucus last night, Jeff told me he was so glad he went because it was helpful to hear what the delegates believe, and it felt good to share his opinion and stand up for what he believes (in a respectful way).
Elections also cause people to get so riled up that in their quest to make a point, they call their neighbors and friends names (specifically on Facebook!). I'm not talking about candidates--I'm talking about regular friends and neighbors. Can you have a conversation with someone who believes the polar opposite of what you believe, and come away still loving them? It's hard during election season. Because we're passionate about what we believe. Being passionate is okay. Voting is good. (I have little patience for people who rant but then don't even vote.) Honestly, I have friends who believe very differently from what I believe. I lean more conservative. Sometimes I struggle understanding someone else's perspective. In that case, I'd rather just not say anything rather than possibly say something that could divide us even more. I do have friends, however, whom I feel safe to talk with. Even friends who believe differently than I do. I know I can ask questions or share my perspective without breaking complete fellowship over a difference of opinion. The other day my neighbor and I were having coffee and sort of tip-toeing around the topic of the election, then we both realized this was a safe place to share opinions and it was so nice to have real conversation. After election season, when the decision is made, I don't want anyone to keep thinking about something I said or posted that makes them see me differently now.
Proverbs 21:2 says, "The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes" (NASB). This tells me that whomever is president, God can still do whatever he wants to. He's not limited by who is in the White House. There's an overall story unfolding and it's going to keep unfolding. It can be hard to trust in that when you don't agree with what's happening in your country or you don't agree with people around you or you feel ostracized by what you believe or who you support as candidate.
But. It's. True. The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.
If you're an American, you get to choose who you want to vote for. That's your right. People have died to preserve our nation's freedom. And truthfully, it's always been messy. In school, Ashtyn has been learning about the Civil War. It overwhelms her, and she tells me she hates war. Division in our country is nothing new. Now, constant flowing information from news and social networks is relatively new, in the scheme of things. I don't want to live feeling panicked and angry. So I'll choose who I want to vote for. I'll vote, and I'll trust God. That's all I can do. By my words, I can bring more division, or I can steer away from that. Division isn't really going anywhere. But among our friends and our families and our communities, we can make it worse or try to make it better. My vote isn't changing. But I hope my heart and my words are always changing in a way that grows me. (And I will keep avoiding mean Facebook posts.)