As I’m preparing to thoughtfully exercise my right to vote on November 3rd, I’ve found myself discouraged with the dehumanization and divisiveness of our current political climate and weary of the uncivilized discourse bred by our highly polarized system.  Since I don’t love conflict, my initial reaction is to avoid the topic.  But, the person I want to emulate most set a different example for me, and I want to follow Him.  Jesus wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty—to enter into the mess.  Afterall, He left His perfect Kingdom to come live in a broken world and be in relationship with messy, broken people.  Yet, He did it in a far different manner than we so often see today.  He knew truth, justice, mercy, and righteousness.  Moreover, He is truth, justice, mercy, and righteousness. But, He didn’t come shouting it at people, forcing their hands, or slinging mud and degrading those who opposed Him.  Rather, He waded in with people with gentleness, truth, reasonableness, humility, patience, and purity.  The God of the universe, the one who holds all power and control and could lord it over anyone to force them to do His will, chose another way. I want to follow His way, and I want to encourage those around me to do the same.       

In this season where people are prone to stand their ground, link arms only with those who agree with them, and battle with harsh words, let’s commit to doing it differently!How refreshing would it be, if we all approached political conversation with “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, graciousness, and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other—as the Lord has forgiven us—and with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:12-14).

I know this isn’t easy or natural for us. And it hasn’t been modeled well for us by our leaders either. When we are offended or challenged, our first reaction is often pride over humility, judgement over mercy, anger over gentleness, and tribalism over unity.  Knowing how hard this would be for us, it is no wonder God includes so many reminders in His Word to be patient, kind, forgiving, compassionate, gentle and humble.  (Titus 3:2, 2 Timothy 2:24-26, James 3:17, Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Peter 3:13-18, Galatians 6:1, Ephesians 4:1-3, James 1:19-20, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Micah 6:8, 1 Peter 3:4, 1 Peter 2:23).   Even if you don’t share my faith in the Bible, I believe the wisdom of this approach is evident, and I’m confident that practicing gentleness, humility, and compassion in your discourse will bring greater unity, peace, and understanding with those of differing viewpoints.  For those of us who do place our trust in the Lord and His Word, I pray we take this not just as a suggestion, but as an act of obedience and as an opportunity to be salt and light in the world!  May we encourage one another to follow Jesus’ example—holding true to biblical convictions while also exercising Christ-like compassion, humility, and care.  This is our Father’s way—let’s walk in it!

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE