Choose the Better Way

Regardless of which candidate wins the next presidential election, we as a nation have already lost. We lost some time ago. Regardless of who is the next president, our country will remain divided. There have always been differences, but now the division has turned ugly. We’ve stopped seeing one another as fellow citizens and have labeled one another as enemies. We accepted the “us versus them mentality” in regards to everything. Our leaders have set us against each other. The division has seeped down from the corridors of Washington and into communities, friendships, churches, workplaces, and even families. Social media has turned into a war zone of sarcasm, condemnation, and sinful pride.

But here lies our problem; our sinfulness. From the very beginning, our sin led to a breakdown of relationships. The very first sin of disobedience in the garden brought division to the first couple. They began to blame and point fingers at one another. Later, with two grown sons, one rose up and killed the other. Abel’s blood saturated the soil, and by Noah’s time, the world was full of wickedness. Sinfulness spread throughout humanity like a virus, infecting our human institutions, including our political ones.

We have surrendered to the politics of hate and destruction. We’ve not only surrendered, but we seem to relish in it. Also, we’ve become quick to see it in others, but not in ourselves. We can easily find the speck in another’s eyes but fail to see the plank in our own. We’ve decided that we are the “good,” and they are the “bad.” We’ve convinced ourselves that we are on God’s side and everyone not like us is not on God’s side. It is easy to sink into self-righteousness. Self-righteousness blinds us. It makes us unable to see our lives and others as they truly are.

Yet, until we recognize our sin and repent of it, we will never be the people God has created us to be. We will continue down the same path. While we may find some satisfaction in how things turned out the way we want in an election, we will still have lost. We cannot honor God as long as we remain divided. When we continue to malign one another, then we move further and further away from the Kingdom of God. We will continue to bear the fruit of anger, hatred, and division.

As Christians, we are called to live in light of our relationship with Jesus Christ and to bear the fruit of this relationship. Paul would write in his letter to the Church at Galatia: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) This is the fruit we to be bearing in our daily living as followers of Jesus. Imagine what the world would like if this was the path we chose. Unfortunately, we have abandoned this fruit and chosen the fruit of hate, anger, and division. We have believed the Temptor’s lie, that this is the only way to accomplish things in our world. We have chosen power over humility, and we are now paying the price for our foolishness. 

The day after the election, nothing will have changed. This division will continue to be there until we change. Until we reject the lie of saving ourselves, we will remain lost. As the Psalmist would remind us in Psalm 146: 3-6:

Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;on that very day, their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God, He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.

The only real answer to our brokenness is found in God alone. Placing our ultimate hope in anything or anyone else will continue to bear bad fruit. Getting our person in office will never accomplish what placing God at the center of our hearts can. Only when God reigns in our hearts will we discover who we truly are and who we can become. I am praying that we will choose the better way. I know I am going to try.

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Published by Dr. Philip W. Turner

Since 1991 I have had the joy of serving as Pastor of Pine Street Baptist Church in the community of Oregon Hill in Richmond, Virginia. The people I have met a long the way have inspired me in my daily ministry. I have truly been blessed.

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