Lord, I confess that this election season is the first time I’ve let other people’s stances on political issues change the way I feel about them. I used to pride myself on being open to other opinions, on looking for similarities rather than differences. On my ability to separate someone’s opinion from who they are.
I don’t like being this way. I am critical. Judgmental. And, honestly, perpetually shocked by the perspectives I see and hear, in person and on social media. It’s ugly.
I have tried to understand where others are coming from and justify their points of view. I have attempted to initiate discussions to understand why they feel the way they do. I honestly don’t understand how, on certain issues, they cannot see what I do. I feel like it’s become us versus them—but I don’t like thinking of any group of people as them, as the other. We’re supposed to be in this together. When did we forget that?
I’ve tried to be smart about when to speak up and when not to. To discern when my opinions will be treated with respect and when I would simply be stirring the pot.
But all I can seem to do is stir the pot. Whether I’m trying to or not.
I don’t want to cause trouble and division and unrest. But, honestly, part of me feels as though “they” are so misguided that it’s my responsibility to speak some truth. To call out hatred and ugliness and ideas and statistics that have been shown to be incorrect. To defend my religion when I see people claiming to follow You but acting nothing like You. To help right some of the many wrongs I see. To take steps towards mending the extreme rift that has grown in our country, separating and dividing us, pulling us apart instead of together.
I’m in a perpetually bad mood. I’m weary and frustrated, and I’m feeling hopeless, and I’ve let it affect me. Am I so determined to be right that I’ve forgotten basic human decency?
It comes down to this: I am genuinely frightened for our country. I am afraid that this election will forever change who we are as a people and that we won’t be able to come back together and heal. I am terrified that this atmosphere of division and distrust and disregard for truth will become the norm. And I don’t know if I can live with that.
I genuinely don’t know what to do with that.
So, at long last, I’m doing what I should have done all along—I’m coming to You, God. I’m begging for Your mercy. I’m asking for Your forgiveness. I’m longing for Your wisdom.
Give me the humility to realize that while I pray this about my friends, probably some of them are praying this about me. This isn’t my problem or their problem; it is ours.
You are defined by Your love for people. All people. You loved us before we came to You. You love us even while we sin. You never give up. You don’t withhold Yourself when we act stupidly, but gently correct us.
Will You do that now? Will You speak to our hearts—all of us—and show us what matters?
Will You help me to love people whose opinions drastically diverge from my own?
Will You remind me that we are multi-faceted creatures who should not be defined by one thing?
Will You help us to listen to each other’s stories and hurts and experiences with compassion, not defensiveness or anger?
Will You help us, as Christians, act according to Your teachings? Will You show us how to live lives worthy of this calling? Will You help us accept those who are different from us and, most of all, would You let others see You in the way we love people? Would You help us to be upright, godly witnesses and share love, not hate? Unity, not division? Peace, not strife?
Will You help each of us look at the issues clearly, not through our existing lenses of bias? Will You help us land on the opinions that most closely align with Your standards? Will You release us from an attitude of judgment and condemnation and make us free to love?
Will You heal us? Forgive us? Lead us?
Because one truth that keeps getting lost in all the turmoil is this: You are our leader. You are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and that is never affected in the slightest by who holds the title of President. Your reign is without end. Your glory is without limits. Your uprightness cannot be questioned. Your compassion and inclusion are legendary. Your love is limitless. You never mistreat anyone. You don’t rejoice in wrongdoing and in false accusations. Unlike our candidates, You are not flawed. Your judgment is impeccable. Your every act is holy and righteous. You are so far above us that I have trouble believing You want anything to do with us.
But You do want us. Even though we don’t deserve it. Even though we act deplorably at times. Yes, we. Not just others, but me, too.
Help us rest in the security of Your love for us. Let us soak up Your grace and abide in peace. Let us see the value in each other.
Remind us that You are bigger than all of this. That You are in control and that You remain on the throne. That You already know what will happen, and that no matter what the outcome of the election is, You’ve got this.
You hold us in the palm of Your hand. And You don’t put Democrats in one hand and Republicans in the other. You don’t separate men/women. Or whites/blacks. Or gay/straight. Or Muslims/Christians. Or pro-choice/anti-abortion. Or liberal/conservative. In Your eyes, we are all the same in one critical respect: We belong to You. We are Yours.
Help us to act like it and let this reality finally transform our attitudes and behavior.
Change us, Lord. Make us better than all of this. Make us more like You.
In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.