A Bridge From Partisanship

(We took a break from traditional Bridge From Sunday Blogs for these two sermons to avoid the appearance of partisanship. But, I wanted to make one last post. To Plea, not for your vote, but for your civility.)

Perhaps one of the most underrated lines from my favorite TV Show, “The Office” came from Pam Beasley. She said “I hate the idea that someone out there hates me. I even hate that Al-Qaeda hates me. I think if they got to know me they wouldn’t hate me” And honestly, that sums up a lot of how I feel– all the time. I’m just a big proponent of everyone liking everyone else, of everyone getting along, and singing kum-bay-ah at the campfire later that night.

If we’re honest, it seems like our country is more divided now than I have ever seen it in my life, and maybe that I have even read about since the Civil War. It seems as if Facebook and the internet may make this worse, but I wonder if it’s been brewing longer than that?

In a documentary I saw not long ago, they were talking about the Kennedy assassination, and they said that the whole country was solemn, and mourned, and people couldn’t even leave their homes because they were so upset at what had happened. I’m afraid if something awful were to happen to any political leader in the US now, God forbid, that half the country would celebrate, rather than mourn.

On either side of the aisle, at any level of government, it seems like division, name calling, hatred, and arguments are winning the day, rather than civil discussion and discourse. It seems like the soundbite, and the mudsling is far more important than actual ideas and policies. Straw man arguments and false choices are the only way to talk to someone, and if they think “This one thing…” then all of their character and integrity can be called into question.

I know. None of this is news. I know that campaigns and politics have always been dirty. But, this isn’t a political blog. This is a blog about something far more important. This is a blog for people who are thinking about, want to, or are following Jesus.

And here’s my plea to you. Be civil. I’m not asking you to sacrifice all of the political ideals you hold. I’m not even telling you not to vocalize who you are voting for or against, (although, maybe previous generations had it right when they kept this a secret!) I’m just asking you, to please, be civil. I’m asking you to be civil, even if the people you’re arguing over, aren’t doing so. I’m asking you to be civil, even when the other person isn’t. I’m asking you to be civil, even when you’re certain that this is a make or break issue for you, for the country, or your faith.

I love this quote from Tony Evans: “Show respect to those who do not deserve it, not as a reflection of their character but of yours.”

Ephesians 4:32 says: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

I know: you don’t think the other side is ok. The other side hasn’t treated you or your friends with civility. But, that’s what we’ve been talking about now for weeks, is that Jesus doesn’t have a side. Jesus doesn’t root for either party, nor endorse a candidate. The King of all Creation remains on his throne November 5, January 20th and forever. No election can shake or change that. Don't allow your primary purpose to be anything other than pointing to the King who doesn't ask for our vote, but commands our heart.

The perfect example of the Political Homelessness of Jesus happened this week, two leading theologians in our time, Al Mohler and John Piper, both of whom are theologically conservative, respected church leaders, announced they were voting for different candidates. Mohler’s is more pronounced, Piper’s requires some assumptions. But, this goes further to prove that there is not a “Christian” vote. Voting Trump, Biden, Kanye or Jo Jorgensen is not the ticket to heaven, nor is voting for one of them a sin. Guess what? Not voting? Also not a sin.

Our salvation, our hope, is found only in Jesus. Our hope is not in political parties, let’s stop acting that way. Vote, support, enact policies, disagree. But do not let the hope and grace of Jesus Christ become secondary to any of those. Don’t lose sight of your neighbor, of your witness, of the people around you who need Jesus for the sake of your political wins. Don’t sacrifice friendships over offices with term limits.

It’s possible to disagree and be friends. It’s possible to disagree and be kind. It’s even possible to disagree and care for someone else.

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