The job of a pastor is to lead, teach, and care for the people of God. Right now, our congregation is full of people experiencing all kind of emotional extremes due to the results of the election earlier this week. In the midst of all this, I hope to bring some clarity and some direction for us.
1. Be compassionate and kind
There are many people within our church who are genuinely afraid, angry, and confused. Be compassionate with one another during this time. Leave room for lament. If you don't understand, ask questions and listen. This is what it means to show empathy and compassion. Point one another to our sovereign God and hope in Jesus, but do it in a gentle and patient way.
Love your political enemies. Refuse the temptation to crucify your political enemies with your sharp words. Instead, crucify your outrage. God is reigning and ruling, and no amount of political disaster can change that. Turn the other cheek when others slap you with unfair or unjust criticisms. Show your opponents goodwill; assume the best of their motives and intentions. Respond to the best form of their argument; don’t cherry-pick the weakest or set up straw men.
2. Engage in counter-cultural social action
Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find welfare. - Jeremiah 29:7
Political engagement is a huge way for us to seek the welfare of our city and nation. But politics are not the only way to seek the welfare of our nation. We have an opportunity as the church to strengthen our witness to the outside world by caring for things that others do not.
At City on a Hill we will continue to push forward with causes such as racial reconciliation, protecting life (on both sides of the womb), refugee care, and care for the poor. Our hope is care holistically for all people - not just addressing the material needs but also their spiritual needs. This is the mission of the church and we will continue with this mission until Jesus returns.
3. Misplaced hopes
Political regimes and leaders are always disappointing. Some are indeed worse than others, but we never get the justice we so desperately long for. The Bible teaches us that Jesus will return to our world to establish a kingdom where the justice and peace of God will reign forever. We long for this day, but in the meantime let's remember that many wanted Jesus to take political office in his day, and he refused. Instead he created an invisible kingdom where the citizens are children of God and they fight against injustice wherever they are.
Extreme anger or gloating are indicative of misplaced hopes. Only Jesus will bring the ultimate justice you long for.
4. Honor, Pray, Speak
Regardless of how you feel about him, Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States. The Bible calls us to honor and pray for all those in high positions (1 Tim. 2:1-2). So that's what we need to do. For some of you that may take a little while due to deep disagreements with Mr. Trump, but we have to ask God to give him wisdom and help him with the hardest job in the world.
But this doesn't mean we don't speak out against the president when we must. We honor and pray for our leaders, we join them where they protect and advance justice, but we speak out when they promote injustice. We must not remain silent. But we must be kind.
- Pastor Fletcher
Further recommended reading:
Russell Moore (Always a voice of clarity and direction) - President Trump: Now What For the Church
JD Greear - Empathy and Charity: How Christian Can Respond to Election 2016