Attitudes Speak

Presidential elections are one of those recurring events that cause me to remember where I was and what I was doing the previous time around.  Last election, I was finishing up my last semester at William Jewell College.  I opted to work the polls, more for the monetary compensation than a chance to take part in the political process.

I’m fairly ashamed to admit that I didn’t even vote.  My sense of civic responsibility is generally overcome by laziness (not proud of that!) and the whole absentee ballot thing takes some forethought when you’re attending school in a different state than you’re registered.

A similar thing happened this year.  I sat on the sidelines watching the political punches being thrown.  Though I am not proud to say I didn’t vote, being an onlooker gave me a valuable perspective on my role as a Christian in the political process.

God has placed us in a democracy, so we should do our best to elect leaders whose values and policies reflect our beliefs.  But, because I did not participate in democracy this year, I was struck by the importance of our attitudes not just our actions at the polls.

Political opinions are plentiful and like gnats – they seem to fly in swarms and inevitably find their way into any open orifice.  Since elections are so public, people are always listening, observing, and judging. Not only do we have a civic responsibility to vote, we also have a Christian responsibility to represent our Lord in how we vote.

For me, the how is not about the action but the attitude accompanying the action. I wonder if our real civic responsibility as Christians is to to react well, regardless of who wins.  With either a Republican or Democrat in office, God is fully in control.

The nation is watching and waiting.  Would it not make more of an impact if we chose joy and responded with love in the wake of the election?

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. {Colossians 3:12-14}

In the midst of an institution that is often darkened by backbiting and corruption we have an opportunity to let God’s light shine.

Our attitudes have a greater impact on God’s light than electing the right person for president.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. {Colossians 3:15-17}

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