Something that is readily apparent to everyone today is that the drama surrounding the current presidential election is polarizing our country more than ever before. People want to know whose side are you on, and they are ready to passionately argue their stance, defend their position and even “unfriend” the person whose views are in opposition either on social media or in real life!
Our natural human tendency is to identify, relate and connect with people who we think share our own values and beliefs. When we see someone who seems to think or believe as we do, we say to ourselves, “they are like me,” which is usually followed by the thought, “I like them.”
We tend to naturally elevate people to higher levels of importance in our lives if they seem to share similar values, beliefs and opinions. We also tend to demonize people whose religious beliefs, political affiliation, stance on important cultural issues, or even things as trivial as if their favorite sports teams, are different than our own.
The problem we face is that when we allow ourselves to overly fixate on our differences in another, we too easily can lose our peace, and even worse we can stop loving them as Christ loves us.
The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis is a fictional piece that follows an incredibly interesting yet disturbing series of exchanges between a senior demon, Screwtape, mentoring his nephew, Wormwood, to successfully secure the damnation of one of his human “patients.” One entry recently went viral on social media sites, because of the frightening pertinence to the state of our country during this turbulent time:
” ‘My Dear Wormwood,
Be sure that the patient remains completely fixated on politics. Arguments, political gossip, and obsessing on the faults of people they have never met serves as an excellent distraction from advancing in personal virtue, character and the things the patient can control. Make sure to keep the patient in a constant state of angst, frustration, and general disdain towards the rest of the human race in order to avoid any kind of charity or inner peace from further developing. Ensure the patient continues to believe that the problem is ‘out there’ in the ‘broken system’ rather than recognizing there is a problem with himself.
Keep up the good work,
Uncle Screwtape’ “
Now I will admit, I am as guilty as any of getting overly worked up about the fact that our country is on the precipice of complete destruction. The outcome will very well be determined by who ends up becoming our next POTUS and appointing new Supreme Court Justices that either defend the constitution and uphold biblical principals and values or continue to throw gasoline on the fire of sin and corruption eating away at our country in every way. However, as Christians we MUST remember that our command to love others and to trust in our heavenly Father’s sovereignty is of the utmost importance.
Either we choose to side with the world and we deceive ourselves into thinking that our favored candidate will be the “savior,” or we side with Jesus Christ and trust in Him and Him alone as our protector, our provider and remember that He will work ALL things together for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28) The harsh reality is that every person we encounter in life is taking one side or the other. One of the best ways we can be a witness for Christ and bring Him glory is by presenting our faith to all we encounter by trusting in and surrendering fully to Him who gives us peace beyond understanding.
” … and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7
As believers who have sided with Jesus, we are commanded to lead Christ-like lives and to love those who have chosen the other side. We are to be a light in the darkness and to spread the love of Christ to a hurting and dying world. I pray that you will not allow the hostility of our current political climate to steal your peace, steal your joy and cause you to put up walls for those still so blinded by Satan’s lies that they still call good evil and evil good.
We cannot give what we do not have, so let us fully trust in the Lord Jesus Christ so we keep our peace and shine His love to all, even those who have chosen the opposite side. We can still be heartbroken over the state of the world, we can and should still be actively engaged in the political process, spreading awareness and casting our votes, but let us still keep eternity in mind and ” … also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” – Luke 12:40
Are you guilty of allowing the polarization of America to steal your peace and joy? How can you more fully trust and surrender to Christ despite the tumultuous times we are living in?