You will wake up to something: disappointment, relief, anxiety, a certain or uncertain outcome. Your people will have won or lost, or some mix of both.
Now what you do could have as much or more impact for the Kingdom of Heaven than whoever you voted for. Your response to the news and your next steps could matter more for the issues that are closest to your heart and the people that you love the most than whatever the person in charge does.
A few reminders on this, the day after:
Glorious Unchanging Truths
… are yet unchanged.
Jesus is still Lord and Savior.
All that you have done wrong is ready to be forgiven.
Fear has no place in your life now, save the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom.
You might need to ask forgiveness from others or extend forgiveness to others for words said, assumptions made, and hatred spewed.
Hypocrites, sinners, evil people, and wolves in sheep’s clothing will continue their work, much to all our frustration, until God comes and does the separating.
We hold fast the promise of unity that comes only from the Holy Spirit.
We boldly love each other in our local churches, always seeking the good of the others, moving them gently toward Jesus in all we say and do.
We give up our worldly ambitions, greed, anger, despair, and every other sin which could be resulting from this moment, knowing that forgiveness awaits all who repent and confess.
We rebuke one another for misdeeds, whatever they might be, seeking to restore and love each other through harsh truths.
We repent boldly, knowing our sins are many but forgiveness is more.
All these things that we (ought to) know and (ought to) do which make up our Christian practice remain.
But What about Politics on November 4th?
If you care a great deal about politics, you have two options now:
1. Care less about politics.
2. Do something more about politics.
You see, caring a great deal but doing nothing about politics except voting leads to helpless despair. You are helpless because you cannot do anything, and you despair because things aren’t changing the way you hope they would.
The ever-present news cycle will not stop, but you can choose how much of it you let into your life. Now that the election is over and you won’t have anything to vote for until 2022, can you stop watching the news? Or at least cut it down to a half-hour a day? Maybe switch back to the newspaper instead of cable news? Or block the social media that inflames you?
Dwelling on politics without being able to do one thing about politics will drive you mad. It will erode your soul. It will rob your creativity, steal your passion, and make you forget your neighbor. Its like watching a sport where the game never ends and you never get on the field and no one really cares that you are a fan except for how much money you spend on gear and a once-every-two-years poll of who has the best fans.
On the other hand, if you are so greatly concerned about the state of things that politics is always on your mind, would you consider doing something about it? You could join in the political party activities of your choosing, or volunteer with a cause near to your heart. You can prepare to run for a local office or help someone else prepare for an election. You can lobby, create write-in campaigns, join activist groups, and press into the things that you care the most about.
In doing this work you follow the Holy Spirit’s leadership to be a Christian in the world, seeking to glorify Jesus by loving others. Being active in political causes and political activity is not dirty or evil. Quite the contrary! We honor and pray for our political leaders because they are God’s anointed, set out to do the work of governing. All people need good governance. Maybe that is you?
Whatever you do, do not be the man or woman in the middle. Do not be angry for nothing! Do not get sucked into other people’s narratives for nothing! Don’t get absorbed into the angers of the day so much that you lose your mind and soul and money over something you cannot change and that does not really affect you in the first place.
I ask, dear Christian, would you turn off the news or make the news? Everything in-between is a frustrating waste of time.
What about Being Pro-Life on November 4th?
We dare not claim the moniker of “pro-life” if our highest and best expression of that title is a vote.
Consider the lives of women at risk for elective abortions:
What do at-risk women lack?
Redemptive relationships and networks of support which erase the need or thought of abortion while setting the meaning of life and sexuality in a narrative of hope and redemption.
What do women at risk of abortion have instead?
Voices of condemnation, no networks of loving support, and a lack of redemptive relationships. Abusive, manipulative, self-serving sexuality. Hopelessness, despair, anger, and a lack of a future.
What does the church have?
The message and community of hope, repentance, redemption, restoration, truth, love, and care. A meaningful narrative of sexuality and reproduction set in a community of support.
1. What would need to change in my family to ensure no one every even wanted or felt the need for an abortion?
2. What needs to change at my church to ensure no woman who is in the church or came to the church would ever feel the need for an abortion?
3. What do I need to do in my community to ensure that mothers who are at-risk for abortion do not feel the need for abortion or ever reach the place of deciding there is no other option?
When you frame “pro-life” as personal to your family, your church, and your community, you will find a new ability to act in a pro-life manner that changes the lives of women at risk for abortion. More importantly for this election season, you will be able to establish common ground with people who claim to be pro-life but who voted differently than you. You can work side-by-side in a redemptive community to change lives one-by-one. You will have more pro-life impact than your vote EVER could.
A Few Ways to be Pro-Life which Matter More than Your Vote
1. Foster children.
2. Create and/or serve in a network of people who provide care for foster parents.
3. Provide respite care for foster parents
4. Be directly involved in the lives of widows with children and other single mothers with children — the most likely people to have abortions in America — by developing real relationships of care and trust.
5. Create ministries to provide wrap-around care for single mothers and fathers with children who are pursuing education or career opportunities which can take them out of poverty.
6. Offer free babysitting for single mothers and fathers during the week during work hours.
7. Honor the single mothers and fathers in your church who have kept and loved their children — let them be visible in their service and presence in your church and life — and never once allow anyone to denigrate that which God has redeemed.
8. Volunteer for an organization which provides care for people which society ignores or treats as unwanted — disabled individuals, people with downs’ syndrome, people with developmental disabilities.
9. Publicly highlight the testimonies of redemption from women who have kept their babies AND the restoration of women who have repented of their abortions.
10. Personally go to a place of risk — an impoverished apartment complex or the laundromat nearby — in order to meet a person (even just one!) who you could protect from abortion by engaging them in a loving personal relationship.
11. Raise men who treasure godly relationships, desire meaningful marriages, and protect the women of the church and their community from abuse.
12. Teach women the signs of abuse and create a space for women to escape from abusive relationships.
13. Discuss the issue with the youth / young adults in your space of influence, ensuring care for them if they get pregnant out of wedlock or have an at-risk pregnancy. Follow up that promise with real action, creating a fund at your church or in your home to care for those people should the need arise and the space for safe conversations should they become pregnant.
14. Have open and honest conversations about relationships, sex, and sexuality with the women in your church / life / community of birthing age and the men who would date them — how to be wise in establishing boundaries, how to protect against temptation, how to find and care for a godly spouse. “Don’t do it” does not cut it. These conversations require real relationships of trust and mutual care, respecting the innate desire for affection and the God-given desire for sexual activity. Work hard to encourage meaningful godly relationships which end in safe and healthy marriages.
Just in my experience, these things spoke louder about the value of life than any vote ever could:
1. The entire life of my friend Kevin, now with Jesus in heaven. He was loved deeply by his family and his church who embraced his need for help because of significant physical disabilities. His church family drove him to school and work, helped him around the house, loved him through the passing of his mother from cancer, shared life with him, and felt his love in return. The pro-life testimony Kevin would share merely by living his life — his vibrant life at the center of our church — was a louder and more beautiful message of life than anything I’ve seen since.
2. The way my previous church embraced a young mother who had a child out of wedlock. Never scorned, shunned, cast off, or sent away, her child was one of ours and her family retained their place of leadership in our church. It was a hard time for her and her family, but one that showed the power of the gospel of redemption at work.
3. The foster mother I know who has cared for dozens — and dozens! — of foster teenagers because they are often the ones no one else will help. She and her husband continue to pour their lives into these at-risk teenagers, helping them even when they got pregnant out-of-wedlock or ran into crisis moments in their lives.
4. The beautiful military family I know who have been public with their struggles to have children of their own but have poured their time and energy into the foster care system, loving children with all their heart and soul. What a beautiful thing it is to see them care for these babies, knowing the pain they have experienced when they are placed back with families. (We see you and love you, my friends. I am so proud of you.)
5. The fact that my previous youth group was at one point made up of about ¼ adopted children. I was constantly blown away by the living examples of what it meant to be adopted as sons and daughters of God as these parents made children who were not theirs to become their own.
6. The welcome my current church extends to the community. actively embracing many children from broken homes, at-risk mothers, single mothers, people of considerable need, and anyone else who would come through our doors in search of a community and of love. I love pastoring First Alliance Church with all my heart because of their constant love for the hurting and the lost.
The simple point is this: your vote matted, but it has not change eternal lives. Let your focus stay on the Kingdom of God above all. As tempted as we all are to be wholly swept away in the moment, recall that your greatest impact will never and can never come at the ballot box. Your greatest impact will forever be when you live and speak the Gospel of Jesus our Savior among the people who need it most.