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A Time for Grace

I write this blog on Friday, November 2nd, four days prior to the November 6th elections. As I write, I find myself reflecting both in thought and prayer on the election, not only on the presidential level but all across the political spectrum. It is news to no one that we are a nation deeply divided in political convictions. Furthermore, we are deeply divided as a Christian people. There are good, deeply committed, highly disciplined, believing Christians who are convinced that the sake of faithfulness necessitates voting for a Republican president. There are good, deeply committed, highly disciplined, believing Christians who are convinced that the sake of faithfulness necessitates voting for a Democratic president. As you read this blog, the election is nearing the end and the results will soon be in. For some, this is a time of celebrating. For others it is a time of deep pain and anguish, often on a very personal level. I submit that for a people who follow Christ, this is a time for grace.  It is a time for neither triumphalist gloating nor bitter despair.  Rather, it is a time for caring for those you disagree with, even those you disagree with vehemently.  Kindness and care need to carry the day.  Remember what Jesus said, “If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete” (Matthew 5:46-48, CEB). A little over a quarter of a century ago, the great missionary Bishop Lesslie Newbigin said in a speech about Christianity in the so-called western world: “Our problem here is not that the gospel appears as something foreign to our culture; it is that it has become so totally domesticated within our culture that its power to exercise a radically critical function is in question” (Lesslie Newbigin, Signs Amid the Rubble, pg. 89).  Without deep reflection and genuine humility in response, it is easy for any and all of us to assume that God is on our side. Instead, let our prayer be that we may be aligned with God.  This is a time to treat each other with grace.  Let our response regardless of whether we agree or not with the results be a reflection of Christ’s grace-filled love.  Let the admonition of the prophet Micah guide us in this time for grace.  “He has told you, human one, what is good and what the LORD requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, CEB).