Subscribe to receive weekly emails of the Reasons for Hope blog.

* indicates required

Disagreeing with Wisdom and Grace: Lessons from the 2016 Elections

The results of this year’s presidential elections give us yet another opportunity to learn important lessons about dissent. It is not my intention to take sides or promote any candidate. My sole concern is our attitude in engaging with whom we disagree.  Take for example some of the posts I read regarding the results of this election.
  • “I can’t believe how dumb people in this country are!”
  • “I hope all the idiots who voted for Trump live long enough to regret it!”
  • “College educated Americans voted for Hilary Clinton but the uneducated outnumber us!”
  • “I have never in my life wished death on anyone, but dear god, I am begging you, please kill trump.”
  • “Well we have 2 months to kill Trump”
  • “So who’s the black person that’s going to take one for the team and kill trump?”
I believe that none of these responses are appropriate from a Christian perspective. In addition, I believe they lack any rational bases. We must carefully distinguish between the ideas we disagree with and those that espouse them. The best way to overcome a bad idea is to present a better idea. Attacking those with whom we disagree does not bring about the results we desire. Furthermore, if as Christians we wish to persuade others that our values are worth considering we must not just speak about our values, we must demonstrate them in the way we treat each other.
Consider some of these posts and ask yourself what can we learn from them? I know as I consider these posts that they may not be coming from people who identify as Christians, but sadly I have observed similar sentiment among fellow believers.
Lesson 1—There is a gracious and wise way to handle disagreement. Unfortunately, it is not too common among Christians and it ought to be. As Christians, we are held to a higher standard. Regardless of how strongly we disagree on an issue, we must love and pray for those who espouse it.
Lesson 2—Just because someone disagrees with us it doesn’t logically follow that they are dumb, ignorant, or idiotic. What is truly foolish is believing that anyone who doesn’t agree with us is a fool. People believe things for different reasons and we must avoid the temptation of dismissing those reasons as foolish.  After all, our opinions are not the ultimate measure of wisdom, God’s opinions are. Furthermore, calling people names does very little to advance dialog and discussion of the ideas with which we disagree.
Lesson 3—Statistics and trends can be interpreted in many ways. The idea that college educated people tend to vote for candidate “x” doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the intelligent thing to do. It could also be that college educated people have embraced a platform that inclines them in one direction or another. I think we would all agree that a college degree is a good thing, but it is not a necessary condition for someone being intelligent or well educated.
Lesson 4—Openly desiring the death of those with whom we disagree is the ultimate expression of ad hominem attacks. We can kill people, but that does not kill ideas. The best way to defeat an idea is by presenting a better one and persuading others to consider it. As Christians, we must adhere to the ethical code established clearly by Jesus himself—even the thought of killing is considered equivalent to the act. We must love one another and we must love our enemies.
Lesson 5—As Christians we are instructed to pray for our leaders—even the ones we don’t like. This is hard to do, but it is a demonstration of our belief that God is sovereign over the affairs of men. God sees the big picture—we don’t. It is wise to give Him the benefit of the doubt and to trust Him, regardless of who is elected.
Lesson 6—Beware of Hubris (excessive pride or self-confidence)! When considering others dumb, ignorant, or idiotic, we are positioning ourselves on a “high horse” from which it is very easy to fall. Even when we consider ourselves on the side of truth, we must be careful to hear what the other side has to say. Respecting the opinions of others is a sign of true wisdom and humility. It does not mean we must agree, but it keeps are beliefs in check with reality.
Lesson 7—In sports, excess celebration is considered unsportsmanlike conduct and is usually penalized and discouraged. I think the same applies during elections. If you are on the winning side of this election, DON’T GLOAT! If you are on the losing side, DON’T DESPAIR. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Winning with grace is a sure sign of spiritual maturity. Losing with grace is also a sign of spiritual maturity. After all, God is still on His throne.
I’m sure there are many more lessons to be learned, but let me conclude with some sound Biblical teachings with regards to how we should interact with those with whom we disagree.
Jesus, Paul, and Peter encourage us to engage with our culture. This means we are to advocate for and defend our beliefs. HOWEVER, much can be learned from their instructions.
Jesus makes it clear that we are not to hide or be ashamed of our beliefs:
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV
 
In  other words, we MUST let our light shine before men. We MUST be bold! No hidden lights! No lights under a basket! Put it on the lamp stand for all to see. We MUST do it in such a way that what they see will attract them to God. This is a key component of our response. Our responses should be attracting those who disagree with us—not repelling them.
Paul uses very aggressive language, but the aggression is clearly focused on the ideas and not on those who espouse them:
4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.       2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV
 
What exactly are we supposed to be demolishing? We are to be demolishing strongholds and arguments—not people! What are we to take captive? We are to take thoughts captive—not people. How exactly do we demolish arguments? With better arguments—divine truth!
Finally, consider Peter’s advice:
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;” 1 Peter 3:15 NKJV
We  must always be prepared to give an answer—BUT—we must be careful to present it with “meekness and fear” or as the NIV puts it with “gentleness and respect.” This is a powerful lesson coming from Peter! Wasn’t he the one who resorted to violence and tried to cut the opposition’s head off? Yet he learned a powerful lesson that night—God’s Kingdom is not advanced by the sword.
Posted in
Tagged with

Recent

Archive

Categories

Tags

1 Chronicles 16:8-12 1 Chronicles 22:14 1 Chronicles 29:11 1 Corinthians 10:31 1 Corinthians 13 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 1 Corinthians 15:21 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 1 Corinthians 15:33 1 Corinthians 15:57 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 1 John 2:15-17 1 John 2:15 1 John 4:10 1 John 4:19 1 John 4:7-8 1 Peter 1:23 1 Peter 2:24 1 Peter 3:15 1 Peter 4:12-13 1 Peter 4:12-19 1 Peter 5:10 1 Thessalonians 5:11 1 Timothy 4:8 1 Timothy 6:10 1 Timothy 6:3-10 100 miles 100% human 1Peter 1:17-21 2 Chronicles 9:13-29 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 2 Corinthians 3:17 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Peter 3:9 2 Samuel 23:8-12 2 Samuel 6:17 2 Timothy 1:7 2 Timothy 2:15 2 Timothy 2:25 2 Timothy 2:7 2 Timothy 3:12 2 Timothy 3:16-17 2 Timothy 4:11 25% are staying 50k 55-mile race AI Abraham sacrificing Isaac Abraham was very rich. Abuja Acts 11 Acts 13 and 15 Acts 17:11 Acts 17:22-34 Acts 17 Acts 1:8 Acts 5:38-39 Acts 9 Albert Einstein All great men were born in February. Alyssa Glander America waited too long. Apostle Peter Asbury Barna poll Barnabas Baruch Bulla Be a Berean Be bold! Be bold Be happy! Be part of the process. Be still and know that I am God Best Evidence God Created Bethlehem Bible reading Bible Biblical archaeology Bob Gillespie Brian Miller C.S. Lewis CRT Camp Sigel Candace Nordine Carl Kerby Jr. Carl Kerby Cell phones Choosing for Two Christ in me Christ opened my eyes. Christian Camps Christian witness Chruch Colossians 1:27 Colossians 2:14 Colossians 3:17-23 Colossians 3:17 Colossians 3:1 Colossians 4:5-6 Columbo Tactic D. Mark Jacobs Jr. Dan Lietha Daniel 12:4 Daniel 2:21 Dave Glander David Tautofi DeBunked 15 DeBunked TV DeBunked Deuteronomy 11:13 Deuteronomy 6:6-7 Deuteronomy 6:6-9 Deuteronomy 6:7 Did Jesus Commit Suicide? Dr. Andrew Fabich Dr. Francis Schaeffer Dr. Jason Lisle Dr. William Beal Draa Mackey EQUIP Easter Ecclesiastes 12:13 Ecclesiastes 4:10 Eleazar Ephesians 1:13-14 Ephesians 2:8-9 Ephesians 3:12 Ephesians 3:17-18 Ephesians 3:19-21 Ephesians 4:29 Ephesians 5:15-16 Ephesians 5:15-17 Ephesians 6:12 Ephesians 6:4 Equip Retreat Exodus 17:11 Exodus 17:12 Exodus 33:14 Facing the Giants Family dinner Fascinating Facts Frank Figueroa Gabby Terry Galatians 2:20 Galatians 5:1 Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 6:9 Gen Z Genesis 11:6 Genesis 13:1-2 Genesis 1:14-15 Genesis 1:14 Genesis 1:27 Genesis 1:29 Genesis 1:31 Genesis 22 Genesis 3:10 Genesis 3:14-15 Genesis 3 Genesis and the Gospel Genesis Glad You Asked Christmas Edition Glad You Asked Glendive Montana Glory to God! God created you God is love. God is rich in mercy God loves us. God loves you God won the battle God-created world God-shaped vacuum God's Word God's character God's dwelling place God's joy God's plan God's pursuit God\'s Word God\'s character God\'s joy God\'s plan God\'s pursuit God\\\'s character God\\\'s joy God\\\'s plan God\\\'s pursuit God\\\\\\\'s character God\\\\\\\'s joy God\\\\\\\'s plan God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s character God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s plan God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s character God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s plan Gods Word is truth Gods Word Gods care Gods character Gods divine plan Gods light Gods love story Gods plan of redemption Gods plan Gods wisdom Good Shepherd Gospel message Grace Mally Grace Moffitt Grammar matters Groggy Hallelujah! Hawaii He is always faithful. He is risen Heaven Hebrews 10:19-22 Hebrews 11 Hebrews 12:1-3 Hebrews 12 Hebrews 13:14 Hebrews 13:5-6 Hebrews 13:5 Hebrews 13:8 Hebrews 4:12 Hebrews 7:25 Hell His glory Holly Varnum Holy Spirit How can I fight and overcome fear? How to Think Hubble Human life is sacred. Huntsman Center Hurry sickness I Peter 3:15 IMPACT Impact Curriculum Is it okay for a Christian to be rich? Is life good? Isaiah 11:1 Isaiah 26:3-4 Isaiah 40:28-31 Isaiah 40:29 Isaiah 40:31 Isaiah 41:10 Isaiah 41 Isaiah 43:1 Isaiah 43:2 Isaiah 45:9a Isaiah 55:8-9 Isaiah 55:8 Isaiah 64:8 Isaiah 7:14 Isaiah 9:6 Israel Museum It is well with my soul Jamaica James 1:12 James 1:15 James 1:17 James 1:2 James 4:10 James 4:14 James 4:7 James 4:8 January 2022 Jehovah Rapha Jeremiah 17:9 Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah 29:13 Jeremiah 31:3 Jeremiah 33:3 Jeremiah 36:32 Jerusalem Jesus and me Jesus chose to die. Jesus comforts the broken-hearted. Jesus saw their faith Jesus the Messiah Jesus Jewish feasts Job 1:3 Job 2:8 John 10:10 John 10:17-18 John 10:27 John 11:25 John 14:1-3 John 14:6 John 15:1-11 John 15:13 John 15:16a John 16:33 John 1:12 John 1:35-42 John 3:16-17 John 3:16 John 3:17 John 6:51 John 8:32 John 8:36 John Mark John Ray Joni Eareckson Tada Joni and Friends Joseph A. Kennedy Joseph and Mary Joseph Joshua 1:9 Joshua 22:5 Joshua 24:15 Juan Valdes Julaine Appling Justice Kaimuki Bulldogs Kaimuki High School King David King Hezekiah King Solomon Know It! Live It! Share It! Know why you believe. LEAD Wisconsin Lacey Reitz Lamentations 3:22-24 Leviticus 12:8 Leviticus 18:24-30 Leviticus 25:23 Liberty Institute Life in layers Life is good because God is good. Life is good Listen to His voice. Listen Little boys need Mamas. Little boys need to know their Mamas like them. Loose the Lion Luke 12:12 Luke 18:1 Luke 1:32 Luke 22:32 Luke 2:1-14 Luke 2:24 Luke 2:55 Luke 2:7 Luke 5:1-11 Luke 5:37-39 MTD Malachi 3:3 Malachi 3:6 Mark 10:8 Mark 16:15 Mark 1:16-18 Mark 2:3-5 Mark 5:19 Mark 6:31 Martin Luther Mary Master Potter Matthew 10:20 Matthew 10:32 Matthew 11:28-29 Matthew 11:28-30 Matthew 11:28 Matthew 11:29-30 Matthew 11:29 Matthew 13 Matthew 14:22-33 Matthew 16:24 Matthew 19:16-24 Matthew 19:23-24 Matthew 1:22-23 Matthew 24:35 Matthew 27:75 Matthew 28:18-20 Matthew 4:18-20 Matthew 5:13 Matthew 5:16 Matthew 5:18 Matthew 6:19-20 Matthew 6:19-21 Matthew 6:19 Matthew 6:25-26 Matthew 6:27 Matthew 6:33 Matthew 9:35 May 15 1987 Memory Lane Mere Christianity Messiah Mic'd Up Mic'dUP Mic\'d Up Mic\'dUP Mic\\\'d Up Mic\\\\\\\'d Up Mic\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'d Up Micah 5:2 Micah 6:8 Michigan State University Miracles Money is their god. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism Mosaic NRB National Religious Broadcasters Never Forget. Never Again. New Year's resolutions New Year\'s resolutions Nigeria Noah's ark Nonconformity Not yet a human. Parable of the sower Pastor Baba Paul Varnum Peter Philippians 1:6 Philippians 2:3-4 Philippians 2:6-11 Philippians 3:12-16 Philippians 3:7-8 Philippians 4:13 Philippians 4:6-7 Philippians 4:8 Plan C Please say Yes! Please say "Yes!" Please say \"Yes!\" Please say \\\"Yes!\\\" Pool of Siloam Potter Proverbs 12:26 Proverbs 14:12 Proverbs 14:34 Proverbs 15:4 Proverbs 16:3 Proverbs 18:12 Proverbs 18:24 Proverbs 19:21 Proverbs 1:20 Proverbs 1:8-9 Proverbs 22:6 Proverbs 23:19-21 Proverbs 3:5-6 Proverbs 3;5-6 Proverbs 6:16-19 Psalm 100:5 Psalm 100 Psalm 103:2-5 Psalm 119:105 Psalm 119:11 Psalm 119:160 Psalm 122:1 Psalm 138:1-2 Psalm 139:14 Psalm 139:17 Psalm 139 Psalm 13:6 Psalm 147:4 Psalm 16:11 Psalm 18:1-2 Psalm 19:1 Psalm 1:1 Psalm 1 Psalm 23:1 Psalm 23:2 Psalm 23:4 Psalm 23:6 Psalm 27 Psalm 29:2 Psalm 2:1-6 Psalm 34:19 Psalm 37:5-6 Psalm 40:2 Psalm 40:8 Psalm 42 Psalm 63:3 Psalm 68:19 Psalm 69:9a Psalm 8:3 Psalm 8:4 Psalm 92:1-4 Pursued Put God first Reasons for Hope Responds Reasons for Hope in the Mosaic of Your Life Reasons for Hope* Reasons for Hope Rebekah Haynie Respond to God's voice Respond to God\'s voice Respond to God\\\'s voice Respond to God\\\\\\\'s voice Respond to God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s voice Resurrection Revelation 22:18-19 Revelation 7:9-11 RforH Romans 10:14 Romans 10:15 Romans 10:9-10 Romans 10:9 Romans 12:1-2 Romans 12:2 Romans 12:9-21 Romans 1:16 Romans 1:20 Romans 3:23 Romans 5:12 Romans 5:17 Romans 6:23 Romans 8:14 Romans 8:26 Romans 8:28 Romans 8:38-39 Sanctity of Life Schaftlein Report Scriptures Seal of Baruch September 11 Shelby Pruitt Spurgeon Stay bold! Stay bold Steve Herzig Supreme Court Surprised by Joy Testify Thanksgiving The Bible Project The Bible is a Jewish book. The DeBunked Files The Plumb Line The Right Ingredients The Screwtape Letters There is no truth There's Nothing Wrong with Abortion ... DeBunked! There\'s Nothing Wrong with Abortion ... DeBunked! There\\\'s Nothing Wrong with Abortion ... DeBunked! There\\\\\\\'s Nothing Wrong with Abortion ... DeBunked! Think before you post. Thinkful TikTok Tish Kerby Titus 2:6 Tower of Babel Trust His heart Trusting God Use God's Word correctly. Use God\'s Word correctly. WEF Wade Wacker Wash their feet. Wealthy Christians What are you thankful for? What is a Christian? What is my purpose? Who Made God? Why am I here? Why did Jesus have to die? Will Our Generation Speak? Within Our Reach Wooed Word of God Your grace still amazes me. Your vote matters. Yuval Noah Harari Zola Levitt a little at a time a process; not an event abortion absolute truth abundant life acacia accepting help achieving the impossible adventure angels angry another child of God struggling answering questions antidote to fear anxious apologetics artificial intelligence astronomy astrophysics be not afraid biblical Christianity biblical creationist biblical perspective biblical worldview biology blindfold boldness bold boys branch brokenness bullae bulla butterfly caged called to encourage cancellation cease striving certainty challenge character check your attitude children choices clay coercion come alongside comfort zone comfortable Christian commas save lives compromised confidence confused conjunction consequences created in Gods image critical race theory critical thinking cross curriculum cut the head off the snake debate deception defend depressed depression design of the eye desperate passion dinosaur dig distractions don't fight alone don't stop don\'t fight alone don\'t stop don\\\'t fight alone don\\\'t stop don\\\\\\\'t stop dont stop doubt embryology encouragement entrusted by God to do good eternal life eternity without God eternity evangelism examine the scriptures eye fair and impartial faith walk family circle family first fear not fearfully and wonderfully made fear feeling lost feeling overwhelmed fig filled with joy and worship flight cancelled football coach forest forever home former athiest freedom of choice fruit fulfilled prophecies galaxies gestation give a defense give thanks glory in His holy name good news of Jesus Christ good news good will toward men grace gratitude grog having conversations heavenly host heroes of the faith history of the universe hope human eye humble ourselves illness impact lives impact your teammates positively impulsive incomprehensible God inn isolation keep moving keep progressing largest church in the world layers leaf light year speed like Christ live in freedom loss of loved ones love of money love made for another world made in His image manger marriage memories memorization without application memorizing Scripture missing opportunities more like Christ multiple meanings mystical truth never compromised no complaints no hope no pain no gain no place like home no quitting no room in the inn nonconformist not a fetus not ashamed oak objective right and wrong olive one foot in front of the other one-world government opened doors opportunity to bring hope overwhelming distance palms part of a team passionate patience patriotism paying it forward persecution persevere perspective physics plans pomegranate positive messages postgame prayer potsherd pottery potter power of the Word praying pregnancy pregnant preposition prioritize God pro-life progress providence quadriplegic quiet time reach the younger generation reality exists reality reassurance red cardinal redemptive work of Christ refining refocus what church looks like relationship with God relentless forward motion represent Christ resolutions rest revival right time right words root of all evil root sacrifice salvation see God move seed experiment seek the Lord shine a light silversmith situation slavery social media son of encouragement speak life speak your truth spiritual apathy spiritual harvest spotless Lamb of God stable stagnant church stand boldly on the Word of God stand up against evil star-gazing starstruck stars step by step stranded stress statistics stress study for yourself suffering swaddling clothes sycamore symbol of God's love and reassurance symbol of God\'s love and reassurance symbol of God\\\'s love and reassurance symbol of God\\\\\\\'s love and reassurance symbol of Gods love and reassurance teaching science technology teens telescope temple of the Holy Spirit terebinth thank you thankfulness thankful the apple of his eye the finish line the lion will defend itself the seeing eye theology think for yourself thriving in Christ traditions traffic trees trials tribulation troubles truth turn to God ultamarathon ultrarunner unborn child uncage the Lion uncertain uncover the truth unfair universe unpredictable use your gift vine virgin birth visual reminders vote wethering the storm where two worlds collide willow windows to the soul wonder of boys work ethic worldview worth fighting for worth it worthy of protection your circle matters youth ministry youth zeal for worship zoo guide