by J. Lee Grady
Our country has always enjoyed lively political debate. But psychologists and sociologists have noticed that the 2016 election took the United States to a whole new level of polarization. The animosity is hot—and getting hotter. In fact, couples have gotten divorced and families have stopped speaking to each other because a massive chasm separates Red and Blue political platforms.
To put it bluntly, we hate each other.
Call it the Trump factor, if you will. But more than two months after the presidential election, nerves are still raw, and blood is still boiling. Longtime friends are avoiding contact or unfriending each other on Facebook. Rage is seething under the surface of our country like a volcano about to erupt.
This anger is also in the church. Believers are at odds with each other over who voted for whom and who supports what policies—and even who drinks Starbucks coffee, shops at Nordstrom’s or likes Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show. Everything has been politicized. This divisive spirit burns bridges, erects walls and pushes God’s people into opposite camps over even the most trivial matters.
Many white evangelicals view Trump’s presidential victory as a miracle of God, and for that reason, some of them rigidly defend every decision he makes. Other Christians—including many African-American, Hispanic and millennial believers—view Trump as a dangerous threat to the country. And somewhere in the middle are Christians who accept the outcome of the election and pray faithfully for Trump, even if they don’t support every move he makes.
We are faced with a serious challenge. Either we choose to love each other across this vast divide, or our love becomes cold and our message becomes hollow and hypocritical. I’m praying we will rise above the conflict so we can show America who Jesus is. Only a church full of love can reflect Him. Here are some steps we can take now:
1. Read your Bible and pray more than you listen to news programs. There’s nothing wrong with staying in the know when it comes to politics. But if you find yourself listening to countless hours of angry commentators every day on Fox News or CNN, it’s possible you have become addicted to this verbal venom. Today’s polarized media is fueling a civil war, and many Christians have become pawns in the devil’s scheme to divide and conquer. Please hit the mute button when necessary. Tune out the screaming before it poisons you.
2. Submit your mouth (and your social media posts) to the Holy Spirit. I’ve been shocked by the belligerent tone some Christians take when defending their views. Is it really necessary to blow someone out of the water just because they disagree with you? The Bible makes it simple when it says: “Be kind one to another” (Eph. 4:32). Does this commandment apply to us, or not?
(I’ll admit I haven’t always tempered my words in this column, and for that I am sorry. I’m learning that grace should season my words like salt. Please forgive me if my tone sounded self-righteous, condescending or judgmental.)
SOURCE: Charisma Magazine
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.