You Can Only Control YOUR Response
by Niki Turner
It's easy to become overwhelmed by the grief, the horror, the sorrow, the hatred and the ignorance. I made the foolish mistake of dipping my toe in the political fray on Facebook a couple of times during this election cycle. It's astonishing how quickly people who never comment on your posts, never see you in real life, never talk to you in person, will jump on a political post they disagree with like chickens on a solitary grasshopper. There's no room for rational discussion... someone is always screaming at the top of his or her lungs, drowning out anything that resembles reasonable discourse.
So what can we do, besides lock ourselves in our rooms and pray?
The Bible directs us to show respect for those who are in authority—government, church, police, parents, teachers—whether we like them or agree with them or voted for them or not, according to the Bible, we are to "be in subjection" to them. Few Christians would argue that it's all right to make fun of their pastor, or speak evil of him, or curse him and hate him with the fire of a thousand suns, but if it's the president or anyone else in government or politics, it's fine. If it's anyone we consider a threat, or different, it's fine.
But it's not fine according to the Bible.
So how should WE respond to all the pulsing rhetoric and everyone's-got-an-opinion?
- Think before you speak (or type). Jesus said "blessed are the peacemakers." Is what you're about to say or share promoting peace, or the wrath of man? (Note: slapping a scripture on something is not necessarily promoting peace. Be careful with that method.)
- Pray for those in authority every day, especially the ones you dislike the most. Yes, this means if Donald Trump becomes President Trump, or Hillary Clinton becomes President Clinton, or the conspiracy theorists are right and President Obama enacts martial law and seizes power for four more years, we are going to have to PRAY for whoever is in power. Just like Paul prayed for Nero. (If you haven't read anything about Nero, you probably should... we might grumble about our presidents, but none of them can hold a candle to Nero.) Why do we need to pray for those who are in power? Because harboring bitterness and hatred and loathing in your heart is hurting YOU. Purpose not to say anything negative about them, ever. Adding negativity to something doesn't produce good results. Let that trickle down to your state authorities, your county and city leaders...
- Step away from the source of stress. Turn off the TV, unplug the WiFi. Don't talk to the crazy family members. Do something else for an afternoon, or even for an hour. It will help you reset your perspective.
- Quit griping. I think we're addicted to complaining. Yes, it's fashionable to complain, but bellyaching about "what Obama did" is a waste of your time and energy. Does anyone else remember people griping about "what Bill Clinton did" and "what George Bush did" and "what Ronald Reagan did." I do. The only difference now is the volume seems louder and more personal thanks to social media.
- Your power is in your response. How you respond to a situation is often the only thing you have control over. Take your power back, don't react. If something requires you to respond, sleep on it, if possible and pray about your response. You do NOT have to react or respond to everything you hear and see! That's freeing, isn't it?
In these days of turmoil (we've had them before, and we will have them again), we need to be light, life, and love in the world. We need to be the peacemakers, the humble, the meek, the gracious, the kind, because that's our calling. We're it. We are God's representatives on this earth, regardless of the condition it's in, or whoever is in charge, or how we're treated.
Go in peace.