As I write, less than fourteen hours have passed since Donald Trump was declared the new President-Elect. In that time, I have spoken to Christians who are angry, Christians who feel hurt, Christians who are grateful, and Christians who feel vindicated. So in light of the broad disparity, I wanted to address a couple questions: How should Christians respond to one another? And in light of our politically diverse churches, what do Sojourn's pastors want the Sojourn family to know?
How should Christians respond to one another?
Let me first say two things. First, I am not addressing how Christians should respond to non-Christians. That would require another post. This is about how Christians should respond to one another. Second, I am in no way trying to over-spiritualize the social realities that lead Christians to feel the way they do. From the fearful immigrant whose family has come to the U.S. to the unemployed factory worker whose job has left the U.S., the cause of our emotions are real. But the living word of God meets us where we are and reminds us of who we are. This firm foundation should allow for conversation–sometimes even debate–marked by humility, love, compassion, empathy, courage, conviction, and grace.
So to the Christian, we say: If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).
If you feel angry or hurt, remember that you are in Christ and Christ is in you and “your life is hidden with Christ in God.” You are not second-class in God’s kingdom, nor are you unwanted in God’s family. If you have ever felt forgotten by your brother or sister in Christ, you were not by Christ, you are not by Christ.
If you feel grateful or vindicated, remember that our hope is not first in political leaders, but in Christ. You may have legitimate reasons to be grateful for the outcome, but not all your brothers and sisters are grateful. Likewise, remember that earthly vindication is temporary. When Christ returns we will “appear with him in glory” and experience His vindication over sin and the brokenness of humanity, alongside even those who voted differently than you.
What do Sojourn’s pastors want the Sojourn family to know?
To our Sojourn family, we say: For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:14-15).
First and foremost, we are a spiritual family of adopted brothers and sisters in Christ; brothers and sisters who have received the Holy Spirit. We don’t fear sifting because, whatever comes, we will walk through it as family. Nothing has the power to change Jesus’ words: “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not stand against it.”
We want you to remember that the church includes men and women on different sides of the political aisle. Our primary identity is united in Christ, even if we were divided at the polls.
We want you to know that no matter how you voted (or didn’t vote), you are loved by us. It is a privilege and a joy to be alongside you as your pastors. Let us collectively keep our hearts and minds set on things above and trust God with our country, our city, our neighborhoods, our families, and our lives, knowing that God is with us and for us.
There are very real racial, social, economic, moral, and cultural issues facing our nation today. And we must address them. We must address them with humility and a spirit of unity. This unity will not come cheap; achieving it will be painful. We must be willing to listen, to weep with those who weep, even to be found in the wrong. This process may not happen as quickly as some desire—our pastors included—but by God’s grace we will address these issues. The gospel compels us to.
So how should Christians respond to one another in light of this election? We live as a family of sojourners whose lives are hidden in Christ and whose minds are set on what is above. We live as sojourners who point one another to Christ, where our hurts find healing and our souls find lasting vindication.