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I’m 46 years old, and I have never been more disheartened or discouraged by an election than I was last week. Just typing that produces a bit of guilt however, as I’m reminded that as Christians, our hope is in Christ, and we can’t let the affairs of this world distract us to the point of depression. So I’m struggling.
Part of me feels responsible to react solely as an American citizen, a bigger part of me feels obligated to view this as a Christian. Others may be wrestling with the same issue, so as therapy for myself (it helps me to beat out my frustrations on a keyboard), I offer up two different perspectives from this latest presidential election – one as a citizen, the other as a Christian.
The Initial Reaction
CITIZEN: God help us!
CHRISTIAN: God help us!
Early Feelings Of Pessimism And Defeat
CITIZEN: It’s frustrating. Part of me wants to clock out of all responsibilities. I can sign up for welfare, get my Obamacare and my Obamaphone, and let the suckers who toil away at their jobs every day take care of me. I’m tired of playing by the rules and then seeing cheaters and loafers benefit from new rule changes. Tax the rich, meaning anyone who makes more than me, and redistribute this nation’s wealth so everyone is on the same level playing field. I’ve heard it said that those of us who work for a living are currently outnumbered by those who vote for a living. I give up!
CHRISTIAN: America is hopeless. It’s just God’s plan that this nation become more and more Godless so I need to just look after me and my family and my church. It’s time we barricade ourselves inside our stained-glass windows, defend the walls of the church from the evil world outside, and just wait until the Lord’s return. The world has chosen sin, so let them wallow in it!
After A Not So Good Night’s Sleep
CITIZEN: OK, 4 years from now, there will be another election. It’s maddening, frustrating and depressing. But we must wake up, go to work (somebody has to pay the bills) and take care of our families.
CHRISTIAN: Obama may be President, but Jesus is King. This is my temporary home. While I would like it to be in good order and a great place to live, work and raise a family, sin reigns in this world and Godly wisdom, advice and counsel is often scorned, mocked and ignored. We’ve just got to keep on pressing on. Our eternal home will be worth it.
After Shaking Off The Jolt Of Defeat
CITIZEN: OK, I can get knocked down and just lie here for the 10 count, or I can get back up. Nearly 230 years of American history implores me that when things looked bad, my forefathers looked up. Our Founders put their fortunes and their lives on the line when they declared our independence. Through the course of numerous wars, our fighting men have braved bullets and stormed beaches to secure our liberties. Am I going to let a woeful decision by fellow Americans deflate my fighting spirit and prevent me from working to make this country great again? It’s no shame to get knocked down. It is a shame to stay down. Get up!
CHRISTIAN: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” James 1:2-3 OK – I’m still not feeling the joy yet, but I know the idea here is that when we are tested, challenged and knocked down – we are made stronger. Maybe God is giving his church an opportunity to stand up and stand out. Maybe instead of holing up inside the church, God is giving us this opportunity to be an even brighter light in an even darker world. As sin abounds, the contrast between good and evil will be even greater. Lost, hopeless people out in the cold will be drawn to a light that is warm, inviting and refuses to be extinguished. Maybe God has set the stage for a great revival.
Back On My Feet And Energized, Now What?
CITIZEN: We’ve been blessed in this nation with a form of government that allows us to be engaged. It is our duty to remain engaged. That means fighting for policies that will strengthen us and fighting against policies that will weaken us. Do not be lulled into the trap of feel-good words like “compromise” and “bipartisanship.” While there are times for give and take, core principles must be defended to the core. We must let our elected officials know that they are not duty-bound to bipartisanship, but, rather, their oath was to uphold and defend the Constitution. Support those who are willing to fight for that Constitution. Encourage them, pray for them, stand with them. In two years, there will be more elections, another chance for people of true character to be placed in powerful positions. Start working now. Remember, this fight isn’t just for you, but for your children and grandchildren.
CHRISTIAN: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” Ecclesiastes 12:13. It’s all about obedience to God. Obedience starts with acknowledging him as king, honoring him as king, and doing what he says. It means living according to, and defending his standards – not the standards of the world. Our worthiness before God is not going to be based on opinion polls or election results, but on whether or not we obeyed his word. If this is a test of our faith, then let’s pass this test!
CHRISTIAN CITIZEN: I cannot separate the two any longer. Even our Founding Fathers like John Adams, who wrote that our Constitution was specifically designed for a moral and religious people, understood that Americans who crave self-government must be bridled by a self-discipline that is tethered to the Gospel of Christ.
This fight for nation and souls is not one we can wage as believer alone or citizen alone. We must marry the two and become an American citizen on duty for Christ. It will be an uphill climb. The enemy controls the media, pop culture, academia and many elements of our government. We must be smart and tactful, but our intent must be pure (Matthew 10:16).
Our efforts to return Godliness to America and return America to God may or may not be successful. We may very well be persecuted, laughed at and tossed aside. But God will not judge us on our results, but rather our obedience. We must be loving but bold, forgiving yet uncompromising, strong yet meek.
We must be like Christ. We must be resolved that whether we meet success or failure – we will remain committed. It won’t be easy, it may not be pleasant, but it’s our only hope to save America.
What’s now referred to as the Greatest Generation saw us through the Great Depression and World War II. Let’s accept with a renewed enthusiasm that God has placed us here and now – “for such a time as this!”
John Shindlebower lives in Finchville.