It is elections season. I will be the first person to tell you that this time of year is one that I really just can not enjoy. The constant barrage of campaign ads on television, social media, in the mail, on the radio, and even slipped into the silly games we like to play on line overwhelm the heart, mind, and senses. And the truth is no one is really learning anything about what the candidates truly think, feel, believe, or care about. All you see is an onslaught of negative slander about the person they are running against.
Along with the ads petitioning you for your vote there are the debates, rallies, town halls, and meet and greets where people hope to get just a tiny glimpse of who the candidates are. And again, no one is learning anything that will help to truly inform the voting process.
In truth, the whole process is a nightmare.
Then you pair all of that during this current election cycle with the heaviness that is COVID-19 and the United States is in a REAL MESS. Everyone has a thought, opinion, feeling or in very few cases actual fact about how to handle the situation and no one seems to be willing to sit and listen to what anyone else that might disagree with them has to say. Hate, slander, anger, and frustration are slung out of our mouths faster than Daveed Diggs rapping in Hamilton’s ‘Guns and Ships’. The saddest part is a lot of the awful things I have seen, read, and heard said are coming directly from the people who also claim to be solid, Bible believing Christians.
Don’t get me wrong, I am just as frustrated as the next person with the way things are but never in my wildest dreams would I ever consider calling another human being, a person who was also made in God’s image, some of the absolutely vile things I have seen or heard being said about those running for are staying in political office. I have seen friends and family alike make comments about people that I’m pretty sure would result in a thorough mouth washing by a parent if it were about any other type of individual or at any other time in our country’s history. The more and more I scroll through my social media the more and more shocked I become. (Although I suppose I shouldn’t feel that way theses days)
Lately, with the election day being only 18 days away and all the campaigns being at their peak I have set out to make a change in my own life. I have found that the negativity, frustration, and anger aren’t influencing the those running for political office in the slightest. I’m fairly certain none of the Presidential candidates have one ounce of care for how I feel about them or their character. But you know what? My family, the ones I live with day in and day out, they do care. And they are watching me. And they are listening to the things that are being said. They are forming their own opinions of the world based on the way I present things to them.
So that is why I have made a commitment to pray. Rather than turn my focus and my energies to tear down the politicians that are annoying, frustrating, or angering me I am stopping to pray. When I see or hear ad campaigns that get under my skin I stop and I pray for that candidate. I pray that they would know Christ in a close and intimate way. I pray that they would seek his face as they continue on their journey. I pray thanking God for giving me the opportunity to live in a place where I have the freedoms to help mold and shape our government and policies. And I pray that I would be an example to my friends and family on how to love those we don’t always agree wtih.
Will any of these prayers make a huge life altering impact on the candidates, especially within the next 18 days or so? I don’t know. In truth, I doubt it. But what these prayers are doing is making an impact on my immediate surroundings. There is just something that changes in your attitude when you come before the Lord in genuine heartfelt prayer. Even if its just a quick one or two sentence thought. It becomes very hard to find a place for hate and vile feelings for a person when you are praying for them and remembering that even in the times you disagree with them they, just like you, are still a creation fearfully and wonderfully made by God.
So that is my challenge to you. Over the course of the next 18 days when you find yourself angry, frustrated, fearful, or hurt by the politicians who are just people like you and me instead of rushing to social media to share how much you dislike the individual stop and take some time to pray for them. Then, even though you will more than likely still disagree with their choices, platform, or methods of madness, maybe you will learn to love them the way that Christ has loved you.