This is a second piece I wrote in 2016 after the last election. As far as I can tell, we still need to embrace truth lest love become the casualty.
At the heart of the practice of our life of faith is an unflinching willingness to embrace truth. In confession we admit to what is actually true about ourselves, even when unflattering, to say the least. In repentance we are constantly turning toward what is true and bears the weight of godliness, when the truth becomes evident to us. We believe that Jesus bears witness to this reality, this truth, in the manner of His life and through His teachings, as together these portray the love of God. Christians are those who above all ought to ground all things in what is true, as best as we are able.
We live in a world where honesty about the “other” is frequently less important than what may be achieved through slander and demonization. The practice of magnifying and distorting the “evils” of the enemy, while concealing any of our own shortcomings, is common rhetorical fare. The “other” has no good or truth, and we have no faults. Jesus spoke to this truth of human behavior when he described how we focus on the speck in another’s eye and ignore the log in our own. We have seen this through our national political process, and it is not about to stop now. The other side is wholly wicked and we are thoroughly righteous!
I pray that we will not become the pawns of those who would distort truth to make us afraid and recruit us to less-than-Kingdom allegiance, namely, loyalty to their agenda. With our flood of media sources, and the constant need to fill a vacuum with anything, speculation runs rampant. We speculate about the motives of others which are truly unknown to us, further making them a group to be feared. The scenarios of what will happen are more numerous than what could possibly occur. Fear is amplified by truthless conjecture, and love is the casualty.
God does not give us grace to deal with our imagination, but with the “evil of each day.” In speculating and worrying about what awful events may occur, we are alone and without divine help. God is present with us in the truth and reality of this day, giving us the grace, wisdom, and strength to shine as lights in the darkness. As people grounded in a desire to live in truth, we cannot trade in speculation – which often turns out to be bearing false witness to what never happens. Such living “beyond the day we have been given” may also become a source of fear that drives out the perfect love of God.
Our task is to live the love of God with a particular attention to the poor and powerless. With either outcome of this week’s election we would still have had the poor with us. The difference might be who the poor and powerless are, but someone always gets neglected, mistreated, and is powerless. With them we find our place to stand and love. Too often, the poor who are told many promises remain neglected when all is said and done. Poverty and powerlessness is very ecumenical, including people in rural areas, in urban cities, those living in America for generations, and those newly arrived. No race is excluded from being mistreated, but those who would manipulate us encourage us to blame others for our plight.
Elections are always filled with outlandish pledges, for good or ill, which are often not implemented in reality. Most likely, some people who need help will in fact receive assistance, but others will be denied dignity and care. This is the way of earthly societies. As the church of the crucified One, we find our place with those who suffer. Jesus was executed by those with political power, and he is always outside the city bearing the sins of the world. We must join him in loving particularly those who are unloved. We will love in truth.
We can pray that the reality of what happens is more humane, loving, inclusive, and compassionate than what has often been said. We will respond faithfully to the truth of what actually happens for God will be with us, and avoid speculation that brings fear and where God is absent. We will sympathize with all who fear, while offering a non-anxious love that can heal all wounds, as God grants us grace.