We are in the middle of one of the most heated political battles of our lifetimes. We need only have watched the first presidential debate and the vice-presidential debate to know that decorum, respect and kindness have already gone out the window. The candidates on both sides of the aisle are slinging arrows at each other and it has become readily apparent the battle lines are being drawn.
The Democrats are appalled that the Republicans are promoting filling a Supreme Court Justice seat just prior to the election and the Democrats are reluctant to say whether or not they will “pack the court” to bring back a liberal majority on the bench if they win the general election. Clearly, both sides are making threats and resorting to underhanded tactics to make their case. Neither side seems committed to the complete truth. Our affluence on the world stage has weakened us and we no longer need to stick together.
But that’s the same way the church started to have its problems way back in the first century. It wasn’t a case of enemies from outside the church – the initial problems came from within the walls of the church – much the same as we are dealing with today in our country.
That’s not how this country was designed to run. Our forefathers, as adversarial as they were, never got to the point of destroying the country in the process. But, there were several differences back then. Our forefathers fought a war together for their freedom. They had to stick together or perish at the hands of the British. We even survived the Civil War, by the grace of God.
Back in 2001, we had a similar situation when the country seemed divided after the Bush/Gore presidential election. But after 9/11, there was a huge sense of national pride and the country bonded together like never before during my lifetime. Less than 20 years later, here we are… everyone seems to have forgotten our commitment to one another.
There is a phrase, called the “October Surprise” that seems to happen each election cycle. It’s the time when something turns up that wasn’t expected during the month of October. This year, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and subsequent nomination of Amy Coney Barrett was thought to be the October Surprise. Then, out of the blue, President Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 and that became another October Surprise. Now, the cancellation of the second presidential debate became the third October surprise. And something tells me that they aren’t over yet. These surprises, any of which could affect the outcome of the election, are still not over.
The truth of the matter is that God already knows the outcome and, whoever wins, things will work out. Furthermore, the disciples of Jesus were constantly being bombarded by surprises. They witnessed miracles while they travelled with Jesus, they saw people converted and profess Him as Lord and Savior – and they even saw the dead brought back to life. Certainly, the greatest surprise they witnessed was the resurrection of Jesus.
After all, that’s what sets Christianity apart from the other world religions. It is not the death of Jesus, but rather His resurrection, that sets Christianity apart. And our living God is still on the throne and, through divine foreknowledge, as I mentioned earlier, already knows the outcome of the upcoming election.
One of the surprises that every Christian has to deal with is the fact that we will all face adversity in our spiritual walk. Even Judge Barrett is being skewered for her commitment to the Catholic faith. Her steadfast faith has become the lightning rod for the Senate hearings that will begin tomorrow to see if she is confirmed to sit on the highest Court in the land.
Our verse for tonight highlights the words of Jesus, as recorded by the apostle John, who tells us in his first epistle, in 1 John 3:13, “Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you…” Unfortunately, these words should not surprise any Christian, especially today in the middle of the month before our election.
Many people have drawn the battle lines and my encouragement this evening is that Jesus wants us to love one another as He has loved us. That’s not an easy task right now. My prayer is that we will all chill out a little bit and turn this whole thing over to God. I respect each person’s right to vote their own conscience but I don’t see ending friendships and de-friending one another on social media as a result of our differences of opinion. Perhaps in these final weeks, we can try to find divine peace and return to kindness. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…