Walk in Love

myvotemyvoiceI write this devotion on Election Day, having stood in line at my polling place for almost an hour, and now proudly wearing my “My Vote-My Voice” sticker. Around the nation, American citizens are gathering to cast their vote in local, state and national elections. But regardless what is on your individual ballot, it is the presidential race which has clearly garnered more attention, airtime, division, and even hatred than many of us ever remember. And when the polls close, the votes are counted, and the projections made, what will have changed?

Yes, our country will have elected a new president. And given recent poll numbers, half of the nation will be elated. The other half will be devastated. Half will excitedly look forward to the Inauguration in January. The other half will dread that day, sure the world will soon end. There will be rejoicing and tears. There will be mourning and tears.

And yet, the God who created the heavens and the earth – the God who knit you together – the God who loves you – the God who sacrificed His Son for you – will still be on the throne. He will still extend his hand, desiring redemption and reconciliation among His people. And His Word still stands.

That word for today, taken from 2 John, offers us the way forward. The way out of the conflict and hatred. The way toward hope. But it isn’t easy.

God’s ways rarely are.

“And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (2 John 5-6)

walking-around-by-cinzia-a-rizzoWalk in love. Toward your neighbor who proudly displayed “that” campaign sign. Toward your friend who shocked you by voting for the candidate you opposed. Toward your family member who never seems to “get it” no matter how often you try to persuade them differently.

Walk in love. Toward the candidate you embraced. Toward the candidate you resisted. Toward the victor. Toward the loser.

Walk in love. And as we walk in love, we reject anger and hatred. We let go of fear and violence. For these things cannot exist alongside love. They cannot. Either we commit to God’s ways or the world’s ways.

The world’s ways are to respond with vile hatred and violent evil. The world’s ways call for rebellion and instill fear. God’s ways respond with unfathomable love and nonviolent grace. God’s ways call for prayers of thanksgiving and bring peace.

You see, the world will be watching to see how we – who call ourselves disciples of Christ – respond to the results on Wednesday morning and beyond. Will they recognize our commitment to God’s ways? Will they see an outpouring of love? Will our witness be one that honors our Savior? Or will they see confirmation that what we profess on Sundays does not apply on Wednesdays? That our beliefs don’t really work in today’s day and age? That Jesus doesn’t offer any true hope for what ails the world?

Half the nation will be hurting tomorrow. The hopes and dreams they placed upon their candidate will be dashed. Yet we know – we have confidence in – the hope and truth that supersedes every election result. That goes beyond any earthly candidate. Demonstrate that hope. Speak of that truth. Model that trust. Strike up a conversation with whom you disagree. Extend kindness to whom you dislike. Listen to new perspectives. Find common ground. Pray – truly pray – for our leaders.

And walk in love.