HOW TO NAVIGATE TODAY’S POLITICAL CLIMATE

Okay, so I know this is far from a normal “devotional” title but I feel like it’s something I want to address as a Christian with the backing of God’s Word. I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but America is extremely divided. There is so much and hate and backlash surrounding a person’s political beliefs and more people than ever have a voice. In fact… we all have a voice. Some of us just may use our voice loudly while others are too afraid to share how they feel. I have always been fascinated by the world of politics and the way the news works. I spend my free time listening to NPR and catching up on various newspapers. I have noticed the change in the way the world is for some time, but I’ve decided to finally speak up.

 

You don’t have to be the loudest in the room.

I really think that this is often the biggest problem with today’s political climate. Everyone wants to be heard. It’s a human desire to be needed and known. This often leads us to yell louder and talk more just to get our opinion and heart heard. Just because you are louder does not mean you are more efficient. This has been a problem with Christians since it became legal back in the 4th century. The message of peace that God wants us to send often gets twisted by our passion (or sometimes intolerance of those that aren’t Christian). Christian or not, “screaming” in someone’s face about your beliefs is honestly going to make them run away more and listen to you less.

James 1:19 says, “My beloved brothers, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”  Religious belief does not automatically equate you with what political party you are, but historically, Christians have been Republicans. I am a registered Independent, so I need you to understand that everything I am saying has nothing to do with what side of the political sphere I lean to. Our job as Christians is not to talk the most, but to love the most.

 

Not every conversation has to be a debate.

You honestly can’t seem to bring up politics without a debate. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or even in your own home… no one person believes the exact same thing as another (even if you don’t realize it). There is always something to disagree on and something to take a side on. While it’s important to be strong in what you believe, it doesn’t mean that you need to fight someone on why what they believe is “wrong” just because it’s different from you. I believe in activism, I believe in calling out injustice, but your Facebook feed is not the place for that. The world looks to Christians as examples of peace and love. When we don’t act this way, the world watches and their idea of Christianity shifts into hate and intolerance. Stay out of debates and drama that surround political beliefs on social media or with people outside of your inner circle. Be that example of peace and calm that God is to us.

 

Don’t waiver what you believe to ease the storm.

This may seem like the opposite of what I’ve just said to you, but it’s the way that it’s approached that needs to be changed. Stand firm on what you believe. Don’t shift yourself to make others feel more comfortable. Just don’t fight or start fights because someone opposes you. In college, it was really easy for me to pretend to not care about things just because I didn’t want to start any trouble. In my last semester, a girl I was working with asked me my opinion on abortion and I froze. She often talked about how she was a liberal so I was nervous about sharing my truth with her and causing a fight. But I stood firm and I shared with her gently what I believed and my reasoning behind it. She was totally chill with it. She said, “oh, cool, I was just curious… I have never talked to a Christian about it before.”

Can you imagine how I might have wasted an opportunity to share my side if I had recoiled or if I had decided to attack? By being kind and gentle with your words and still standing firm, you can often feel the political tension diffuse right on the spot. Working through this political climate is not about backing down on your beliefs, but approaching those who think differently in a kind and loving way.

 

Preach love.

I am going to get a little sassy here, but I am over the hate that I see every day on social media. The fights, the debates, the constant need to correct or derail someone. Enough. On all sides. We are here to preach love and spread the name of Jesus. God created every single person here on this Earth. Black, white, gay, straight, Republican, Democrat… He is the one who designed and wrote each of our stories. It is not up to you to judge or write off someone. The violence and anger have gone on long enough. Preach love wherever you go. Ask Jesus to let others feel His light through you. Work hard to ensure that you stop hate in its tracks. The people in this world (including me and all of you reading) go through enough than to deal with division and hatred. Be the change and choose God’s kindness and love to share with the world. x

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