As a servant evangelist, I have never hesitated to stand in the pulpit and encourage people to stand for and vote for what is just and right by the teachings of Jesus. However, I draw the line when it comes to telling people who to vote for.
The Sunday after Jimmy Carter’s inauguration my sermon title was, “The Plains Truth.” Obviously, I was glad about the results of that election. I am glad about the results of this election. I pray that Joe Biden will do his best to bring healing and civility back to our country. But I wonder if this task is achievable with the deep divisions we have created politically, socially, and economically.
I think of the Apostle Paul and the church at Corinth, which was a mess. There were many problems causing division from fractionalizing behind rival leaders to marriage, remarriage and divorce, to chaos in worship because of speaking in tongues, to collection of a large sum of money to be sent to Jerusalem. So, Paul wrote in his letter to the church:
“Love is patient, love is kind, It does not envy, it does not boast, is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. It keeps no secrets of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” I Corinthians 13: 4-8a NIV)
We, the American people, face a tremendous challenge in the years ahead. According to the 2020 election, there are 80 million Americans who believe in living life one way and 74 million who believe in another way. This is a moment that calls us to walk in each other’s shoes — to be sensitive to others with differing views and backgrounds, regardless of educational or economic status. We’re to be kind and considerate towards one another. Love doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything. It means we care for one another. So much so, that we’re willing to listen and try to understand how the other feels.
Richard Niebuhr writes, “Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.” It’s Christ-like love that brings healing and hope. This is the love we need to practice as a nation. God’s love never fails!