How to Respond
So, it’s now a few days after the election. How do you feel? Despondent? Hopeful? Maybe ambivalent?
How will the results of this election affect your life? This is a rather unfair question because the answer is certainly not easy. The results of an election are so nuanced and complex that who knows what might actually happen. Pundits and analysts can, with a modicum of accuracy, say that should “X” amendment or “Y” candidate be elected, the general aftermath will be positive or negative, but that’s about as good as it gets.
We could think that since our issues and/or candidates won, all will be well. But that’s not necessarily the case either, even if it may put us in a better mood overall.
Election issues and candidates are approached from numerous perspectives. For many folks, belief and faith play an important role when casting a ballot. Many ask themselves, which candidate or which response will bring about the greater good for all?
Also, people take a practical standpoint. Whether speaking about economics, the environment or health care, often the approach as to how one casts their ballot boils down to “how will the outcome financially affect me.” Will my insurance or medical premiums increase, will prices for products and services go up, or will tax increases actually make a difference? For some, it’s about strict partisan lines and with others it’s about change — voting out all current politicians simply to bring in “fresh blood and new ideas.”
As a pastor and since it’s post-election, the question I pose is, “how will your beliefs and faith play a role in politics and the world NOW?”
I realize that belief and faith likely played a role in how you made your selections in the first place, but now that it’s all over, how do your beliefs and faith kick into gear?
Because you see, it’s not over. The election results are in and regardless of whether your issue or your candidate won or lost, there will be repercussions — maybe good and maybe bad — that will affect you and with which you need to live.
I’d like to suggest that the best way for us to react to the election results (and to all of life in general) is to remember Jesus’ lesson on the greatest commandment.
In response to the question, “What is the greatest commandment in the law,” Jesus teaches, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind.”
This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” (Matthew 22:36-40).
With amendments, propositions, candidates, politicians and politics in general (i.e., “All the Law”), when we respond let us ask ourselves, “how am I loving God?” And, “how am I loving my neighbor as myself?”
I know that a sincere and prayerful heart will guide us to a response for which a loving, gracious and merciful God would approve.
Michael R. Blackwood is pastor at United Church of Broomfield