In the U.S., it is election season and with barely two months to the presidential elections, the heat is on between the two major parties.
It is not unusual for the leading contenders to be at “daggers drawn,” what is alarming this time around is the extent to which each side is willing to go to “de-market” the other.
Airwaves and cyberspace are flooded with accusations and counter-accusations regarding how the current administration has managed the socio-economic space. Mutual distrust abounds and for this reason, long-standing friendships are being severed and even relationships between family members are being destroyed. The church that should serve as the beacon of hope is sharply divided. Christians have pitched their tents in both camps and are more vocal than ever before.
No doubt, people are political and are expected to make choices that serve personal or communal interests. Be it in associations where you have formal structures such as political parties, or informal groups like family settings where decisions have to be made. Because we are different, we will always have varied views on issues.
Being at daggers drawn is not necessarily bad under political circumstances, but when political views degenerate into hate, it becomes worrisome. Regrettably, hatred has eaten into the fabric that unites us.
The biggest reasons for this meltdown are intolerance and a significantly eroded appetite to love one another regardless of opposing views. We lean more on our understanding and have allowed the flesh to take preeminence in how we engage one another. In public discourse and interactions, God has either been relegated or does not exist. The book of Galatians 5:19–20 puts it this way;
“Now, the works of the flesh are evident, which are … idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies…”
In a period of the global pandemic, heightened racial tensions and increased hatred, that passage got me thinking of where our priorities lie regarding our relationship with one another and reverence to God. As a people, we seem to have lost the empathy-driven by genuine love and taken on notions that have made us more polarized than ever before. This direction is undoubtedly not the way to inherit the Kingdom of God.
We must press the pause button before the damage becomes irreversible. We must not lose sight of the fact that those who seek to divide us walk on every side. Let’s take a deep breath and remember that God’s will supersedes that of men and no matter the outcome of the elections, He will allow it for reasons beyond the comprehension of man.
What will move us forward is to pray for grace and the right temperament to disagree but the fortitude to agree with the day’s decisions and work within the prevailing circumstance to make our world a better place. To rise above all else, we need to rediscover the essence of love for each other, especially as Christ’s followers.
As God’s children, we belong to His Kingdom and in His realm, there’s no politics. He does not choose one person over the other. He first loved us, sees us as equal and for this reason, we are expected to love Him back. If you are asking how to attain this, look no further than the ten commandments. The first four teach us how to love Him while the remaining six teach us how to love others. Jesus, in His unpetalled wisdom, broke it down when asked which is the greatest commandment:
“you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This instruction is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depends all the Law and the Prophets.”
Mark 12: 37–40
I believe that if we put this to practice, the world will be a better place. The November elections will come and go; the same way, changes will take place in political offices worldwide at designated times. Those in authority will govern while we will return to our daily lives. From then on, our role will be to hold them accountable so that they deliver good governance at all levels. In all this, we must look out for one another and discourage divisive lines that breed division and hatred. More importantly, the church must retrace its steps and begin to correct aspects of its message that sow seeds of division and whittle down love for one another.
At elections, a man or woman may govern our choices, but love should rule our hearts, for, in heaven, there are no political parties.