Friday, October 24, 2008

Hope: The Lost Election Message

I want to premise this post by saying I will not be endorsing any candidates or amendments or policies here at this time. I'm not George Clooney or Matt Damon so my opinions do not weigh as much (so funny, yet so sad). If you want my opinion, honestly, then I will give it, but not if all you want to do is attack me. I used to be very good at being a pit bull, but it seems mommyhood has made me a bit of a softie and I take things to heart pretty easily. But as the last few months have worn on in campaignville, I've seen and heard some things that need to be addressed. I am here to remind us that there IS hope.

With all the campaign ads for Senators, Representatives, and Presidential candidates, I found myself getting caught up in the "fight for your life" attitude. When an attack ad would come on against my favorite candidate, sometimes I felt like screaming at the TV, "Stupid! He's taking this out of context! What a joke!" Then I would call up one of my comrades and fume with them about how so-and-so had better win the election because I can't believe what kind of mess we'd be in if such-and-such was elected. Please, dear God, in your mercy, don't let it be HIM (or HER as I prayed fervently, fervently). But lately, I've been stepping back and looking at the cost of all this fighting. Even the church is fighting, fighting amongst themselves about who GOD'S choice is. First of all, God's choice would be that GOD would be president. Maybe I should write Him in. (I wonder if He gets many votes?) And second of all, actually, there is no second of all. First of all, God is KING.

"It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes." ~Psalm 118:9

My friends, let me tell you there is hope! After the 2004 elections, if you were to ask any Kerry supporter how they felt, they all answered one and the same: they were despairing, fearful, and angry. Their hope was in a man, and that man had failed them. Many people who voted for Bush in 2004 are feeling the same way. This man they voted for disappointed them. They feel betrayed, despairing, and afraid. This will always, always, always be the outcome when we put our hope in men (and women). Even good men and women. We all fail, we all make mistakes, and we all make choices that make ourselves feel good without thinking about our fellow man from time to time. I can promise you we will be disappointed with our next president, too, in some way at some time. He's going to make a promise he can't keep; he might even make some terrible moral taboo that degrades the office. If our hope and peace come from knowing we have a good leader in a good government, then I'm sorry to say that we will be disappointed all our lives.

I have three groups of people I want to address here, so bear with me. First of all, if you find yourself thinking, “That’s me. I’ve been let down and I’m sick of putting all my hope in one man every four years only to be disappointed time and again,” then I want to encourage you that there is someone you can put your hope in that promises never to fail you. That person is Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life and allowed himself to be sacrificed. He did this in order that we, as imperfect human beings, could have a chance to be reconciled to a righteous and holy God. Romans 3:23-24 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” All the good things I do still don’t make me righteous and holy. To come to a righteous, holy God, we need to go through a righteous, holy intercessor, Jesus Christ. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” ~ 1 Peter 1:3 Jesus promises never to leave us nor to forsake us. Our hope is secure when it is placed in him.

The second group is a group I myself belong to. It’s the church. Our hope comes from the Lord. But I think we've strayed or forgotten the focus. We as the church have neglected our duty to reassure our fellow citizens of this hope. We aren't sharing this hope with people who are afraid and despairing because they've been let down by our government. Have we become so engrossed in our "evangelical issues" that we've forgotten the most important command from Jesus Christ himself? “Go and make disciples of all nations!” Share the love and hope of Jesus Christ to a world that is hurting, lost, despairing. To a world that is clinging to a few moderately decent men who can really only give them either free health care or some tax cuts. Instead of focusing all our efforts into the campaigns of men who we don’t completely agree with, let’s focus our efforts on the campaign of God whom we serve. Be the peace the world so desperately needs and spread it around. Also, let’s not fall into the trap of vilifying our brothers and sisters in the Lord for their poured-over, prayed-over decision on who to vote for. I know wonderful people who are whole-heartedly serving the Lord on BOTH sides of the political field. Jesus prayed three times for unity in the church. Let’s not do as the world does and so stir up dissension and strife. When all is said and done, someone will be president, and God will still be God.

The third group is those of you who are still waffling over which candidate to vote for. The best you can do is ask God what are the issues on His heart. And what are the issues on God's heart? We read in the Bible that God has always been an advocate for how we treat the poor and the aliens, justice for the innocent, loving our neighbor, making disciples of all nations and baptizing them, praying for peace in Jerusalem...notice that the global economy wasn't on this list, nor were tax increases or big government. As a Christian, I need to pray that God presses on my heart the things that are breaking his. Pray for God to guide you, and know that your conscience will be clean before him.

I believe it is our civic duty to vote and give direction to the nation we live in. What a privilege! It’s a privilege my father and my husband have both fought for, put their lives on the line for. I’m a true patriot and I love my country. That being said, my heart belongs to my Savior, and it’s in Him that I place my hope. I pray for everyone who reads this, that they might choose the same.

In His great HOPE!



Sara said...

That is such a great message Brenda! The evangelical world really needs to hear it.

Sarah McQuade said...

Right on. High five, Brenda! I actually forwarded this post to the pastor at our new church since he's working on a sermon about Christianity and politics. If you're ever in town on a Sunday night I would love to go to our church with you! I really appreciate your perspective, spiritual depth and insight. Thanks for your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Well done young you want to run for office? Jim E