Forgive some liberals today.
It might seem a little facetious to treat holding different political opinions as something that needs forgiving. But we can be bitter even towards someone who has done us no objective wrong, like a manager who turned you down for a much-needed job.
So I will say…forgive some liberals today.
Is that hard to hear?
It’s probably safe to say that liberals – the media, whiny celebrities, Portland protestors, entitled college students and their PC safe-space police, and the outgoing president you never really prayed for – are amongst the closest thing to real enemies we have in this country. At least, that is how they exist in our minds. Isn’t it? Forgiving them feels like sponsoring their mindset, yielding ground, or “letting them get away with something”. It feels, for lack of a better word, a little dangerous.
And it’s a good thing, because Jesus doesn’t give us any exception clauses to the command to forgive. For he forgave us. There are a lot of decent people like you on the other side of the aisle who are disappointed this week. We’re supposed to be salt, not salt in the wound. Who’s “right” doesn’t matter. Godliness matters. (And it might even have power to win them over to our cause.)
We’ve been angry for eight long years. I recognize that this week is somewhat cathartic and a victory for some. But it’s still anger. There is also fear, a number of nightmare scenarios running through the minds of parents and grandparents on both sides. This week’s continued barrage of post-election opinions is really a release of eight years’ worth of pent-up frustration at the other side, and I have to wonder – couldn’t we have been taking it all to God all this time? How is it that we came to see political victory as the only possible resolution to our anxiety? When did we decide that we can’t find peace and rest until we get “our guy” in office? Jesus didn’t die a bloody death to implement that awful reality. He came to offer us overcoming peace, today, right now, in any circumstance.
Good thing, too – in our system, government changes every two years. Talk about shifting sand.
We have no need for fear. Some have pointed out to me that my lack of children leaves me with far less to be fearful over, but come on – do our worst fears ever happen? Really? Isn’t it just kind of “the more things change, the more they stay the same” instead? Fear is useless. Anger is useless, too. God tells us not to “let the sun go down on our anger”, even when we have justification, even when we feel an opposing people group is threatening our liberty or well-being. Our example for treatment of others, Jesus Christ, forgave the very centurions who nailed him to the cross. That ought to completely reframe the way we approach our worldly opponents.
We’re Christians. We don’t do chips on our shoulders.
The election has forced me to challenge many of my black-and-white assumptions about people. Folks who I greatly admire and respect have voted differently than I, on both sides. It’s been that kind of election. And that’s been challenging. I’ve needed prayer, and I’ve needed humility and the Holy Spirit in great measure. I’m here to tell you: God has come through. I can honestly say that I find myself today with any potential resentment skewered, deflated, and tossed out like money-changing tables jettisoned by Jesus from this, his temple. Only he could do that. To him be the glory. He can take you over. He can coat your soul with peace and his heart for people. That’s what I asked for, and he came through.
Let us extend the same grace to others this week, on both sides. It’s been a week. The rush to “educate” everyone on the lessons of the election – let it go. Everything that can be said, has been. Let’s start being an overflow of that same unexplainable grace Christ shows us. We are in uncharted sociopolitical territory; we need to be united, and we need to be a church.
Let us forgive.