How about a new topic? How about politics? I know, it’s quite a shift from chronic illness, but with primaries scheduled across the nation and all the news stations covering debates and polls, it’s kind of hard to avoid the topic.
We shouldn’t avoid it, yet we often do. For years I dodged the subject– I think because I didn’t want to disagree with anyone. Also, I didn’t want people to judge my views. And, to be quite honest, I didn’t know a lot about the issues. I was just ‘picking a side’ to pick a side.
Over the years I have tried to become more informed. I won’t say that I have achieved this goal, but I have learned a lot and changed quite a few of my early-held opinions. And what were those naive opinions?
Well, for one, I thought that all Christians had to be Republican. I was shocked to learn when I first met my husband that his parents, devoted Christians, were very actively involved in the Democratic Party. For a long time I did not understand that, nor did I try. I had decided that Christians were Republicans. Period.
But that’s way too simple isn’t it? Certainly there are Christians on both sides of the aisle — and there should be! In order for our system of checks and balances to work, we need diversity in the ranks! We need people of prayer within all political circles! If all Christians join one party, we set up an us vs. them scenario which makes it very difficult to find common ground.
Another early held belief was that I was right and I had to force my ‘rightness’ onto everyone else. Do you know what I discovered? I discovered that when I walked around declaring my ‘rightness’, nobody wanted to listen to what I had to say. They didn’t want to enter into dialogue with me. Do you know why? Because I was rigidly opposed to hearing what the other team had to say. So, they took their ball and went home.
I began to experiment. What would happen if I, instead of trying to coerce others to agree with me, asked questions that would help me understand their point of view. You won’t believe this, but listening to the reasoning of others has not only helped me see the complexity of a variety of issues, it has also sharpened and molded my own opinions.
I also used to believe that you had to declare your allegiance to one party or another, and that you had to vote accordingly. So, for instance, if I was a Republican and the best candidate the Republicans could put forth was Kermit the Frog, I would be obligated to vote for him. Well, that’s ridiculous, isn’t it? Why would I vote for a Muppet?
I mean, deciding to vote according to party allegiance is simple, right? You trust the ideals of the party to guide the selection of a candidate. You agree with the ideals, so you vote for the chosen candidate. You don’t really have to take the time to research the individual issues, to study the complexity of the election, or to enter into complicated conversations with people.
Simple is not usually smart, though. I mean, I haven’t found a party that matches my ideals. I haven’t found a candidate anywhere that loves the Lord with all his heart, soul, and mind, and loves his neighbor as himself. I haven’t found any human who is unfailingly trustworthy. I haven’t found any politically-driven group of individuals that consistently acts in the best interests of its constituents. So why would I align myself with one?
You may be wondering what will I do when it comes time to vote next month in my primary? How about the actual election? Those are tough questions. They are questions that have caused me to read a lot and listen a lot. They also prompt me to pray — not that my candidate would win, but that God would place into power the person who will serve His purposes. I mean, if I’ve learned anything in these past fifty years, it is that I don’t know what God knows. I don’t know who the best candidate is, what our country will face in the next four years, or where our country is headed. But He does.
So instead of running my mouth and telling people what they should do and who they should vote for, I am going to go to my knees and pray that His will would be done and that I wouldn’t stand in the way. And, of course, I’m going to vote.
13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.