On Voting

Is it only me?

During this election year it has been incredibly hard to navigate my political convictions with my understanding of grace.

There I said it.

Some friends I love with all my heart have the temerity to want a different president than I do.

For the most part, I’ve been careful to not respond to any public  saber rattling of baiting, attacks, meanness, mocking or conspiracy theories.

But I want my friends who disagree with me to stop being so wrong and begin fully agreeing with me.

I want to gather them all into my living room, serve a nice meal and then, as I clearly and cogently map out the error of their ways, I would offer enough time for them to each offer brief heartfelt apologies. I would magnanimously brush their apologies aside and send them home with a dessert chocolate; our friendships intact with joy in our hearts.

Perhaps you see my quandary.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking recently about how grace is given as a template for me to approach others, in every place in every season.

It has given me some clarity and peace. And it may save me the cost of several dozen meals.  

1)   Grace is not something you sell.

2)   It is pitiful to employ the mechanisms of shame, moralism and Law to convince others how great grace is.

3)   Offering grace in my conversations convinces more and proves more than the profundity of my particular point.

4)   God is still God even when my understanding of an issue is completely wrong. Even if it is my understanding of grace.

5)   I can win a conversation and lose much more if I resort to old methods of proving my rightness from a previous theology.

6)   Others come more quickly to grace if I can convince them they are accepted and delighted in by me at any point on their journey.

7)   Grace is the conduit of love.

8)   God will still be in control of His universe if I’m not agreed with. 

9) If I truly want to influence anything more than information I must be trusted and given permission.

None of this minimizes the importance of passionately carrying our values, hopes and desire to protect others who might be affected by results that don’t go the way we hoped.

But these convictions of grace are not to be compartmentalized. They hold sway with every opinion I carry. Grace must be the filter through which I approach my friends, and those who wish me ill. Grace is the currency of the one overarching thing I am asked by Jesus to do. I am to love.

There will probably be a November 9th.  And the world around you will really need, maybe more than ever, those who still believe people are meant to be loved, honored, protected, freed, known, valued and trusted.

So, I’m starting to believe that it might be wise for me to not spend all my credibility and trust in a single burst of self-validated anger to compel others to see like me. It just doesn’t work. And it leaves me feeling like someone I no longer am.

At least that’s what I am convinced of today. Ask me tomorrow. 

John Lynch