As the pack of candidates thin out, more investigations were made possible. CIA, and FBI, and MI-6 all have these candidates on their radar, and yet each of them might still be unaware of the shocking truth being revealed today. Ready for the bombshell?
Each of these candidates is beloved by God.
Gasp. I know. It’s true. They each find themselves shoulder to shoulder with those God has smiled on, and loved enough to enable to bear His image. That has important implications for how we are to respond to each of them, and how we might also need to repent of how we’ve responded so far. The fact is, most political races end up having ugly moments. A few bits of name calling, and an accusatory tone here and there. But let’s confess – no matter who you’ve supported or disavowed – this race has not brought out the best in us.
Read the words of 1 John chapter 4, and you’ll quickly be reminded that one of the marks of the church was their love. The response to what is happening in our world is not fear or anxiety, but love. It is not anger or retributive violence in action or word – but love that will help us to stand out as God’s “image bearers”.
Does this mean we have to embrace all possible leadership candidates with flowers in our hair, and let anyone take the oath who might be interested? No.
But it does mean we are careful with our words and actions (and retweets). It means even as we examine policies, determine who might best lead us forward, and discuss these things with others – we are careful to realize even as we critique the lives of others, our lives are being noticed by a world who wonders “Does Jesus make any difference in the lives of those who claim Him?” The answer should obviously be – YES!
How often have we genuinely prayed for the candidates we disagree with? Each of these brothers and sisters of ours is under extreme pressure and in a national spotlight. With very little regard for personal privacy, and with every word they speak or write being critiqued and examined under a thousand unloving microscopes – they need our prayers. These are mothers, fathers, and grandparents who have entire families who celebrate with their victories, and mourn with their losses. No matter what happens in 2016 – each of these will go on to laugh and smile at children’s birthday parties, and shed tears at funerals of loved ones. May we not buy the rhetoric that reduces ANY of them to a 2-dimensional caricature, in an attempt to make it easier to treat/view/speak of them as less than someone loved and valued by God.
1 John 4:20 – “Those who say ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”
Luke 6:27 – “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”
Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths (or typed/liked/retweeted by your fingers), but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Of course, the list here could go on – especially highlighting the life and words of Jesus himself. As we continue forward on our journey through Lent this year, we are offered an opportunity here. May we choose to respond humbly, repenting of how we might have misrepresented the love of God, and offer ourselves to bear His image anew…
ps. If your first inclination is to defend unloving words, citing scriptures where God or Jesus showed their anger/disapproval – you may be missing my point.