I don’t watch TV much these days. The political ads drive me nuts. If the ads would stick to the theme of “Why our candidate is a great candidate,” I could live with them. But no. So many are attack ads, designed to frighten and divide us.
This, of course, is time-honored political practice. The motto, “Divide and Conquer” is, in fact, attributed to Julius Caesar, who applied it to conquer Gaul 22 centuries ago. And using fear to unite the tribe against “the other,” whoever “the other” is perceived to be, is probably as old as stone-age society. If one can only frighten people enough, one can control them fairly easily. Fear is a very strong tool that can confuse rational thinking and change people’s behavior - and not always for the better.
What I hear right now is that so many people are afraid. They are afraid of the “other side” gaining control of the government. They are afraid of the “wrong candidates’” being elected to office. And the thing is, members of both major parties are equally afraid! And as for being divided, well, we’re about as far apart as people can be in our political thinking. (Or at least we think we are.)
Is there good news in all this? Well, for followers of Christ, there is always good news. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid (John 14:27).”
If there was ever a time when Jesus’s followers were afraid, it should have been at that Last Supper and the few days following. Jesus was leaving; his arrest and crucifixion were immanent. But what does Jesus leave with them? His peace!
We can experience that same peace. Whatever the outcome of U.S. elections, the same God still rules the universe. Whatever changes we may see in the future, the same Savior still loves us; the same Spirit still guides us. Empires may crumble and fall, but God’s Kingdom is forever.
Brothers and sisters, take heart. Take part, if you will, in the political process. Acquaint yourselves with the issues. Vote your conscience. But do not be afraid.As Jesus said at that Last Supper, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).”
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