“How would YOU like it?” This has become a famous phrase in my house. It’s my ‘go to’ phrase when I hear my grade school children demeaning each other. It seems obvious to me that you can’t indict your brother for using the same tactic that you yourself just used moments before. How can kids be so blind to their own hypocrisy? Perhaps an even more pressing question is “how can we adults be so blind?”
Here are some thoughts on the election aftermath, an aftermath that has included intense emotions and reactions on both sides of party lines.
Don’t be a hypocrite. Protect your integrity.
Follow your own rules, especially the rule of life we learn in elementary school that we ought never outgrow: treat others the same way you expect to be treated. When you feel like lashing back at the winners or mocking the losers, follow the rule. I mean, imagine that the tables were turned. What if you were on the other side or in their shoes? Ask yourself an elementary question: “How would YOU like it?”
- How would you expect to be treated after deep disappointment?
- What would you want someone to say to you — or NOT say?
- Would you expect a little compassion, or even a little dose of understanding?
If this is what you’d expect, then extend that to the other side. Don’t be a hypocrite and hold someone else to a standard you yourself don’t follow.
Don’t panic. Protect your heart.
Don’t be a sore loser. If it’s true that you’re a Christian first and a patriot second, you don’t panic when your candidate loses. People of faith and prayer elude anxiety because they have a peace that stands guard over their heart. This peace will protect your heart from getting blown and tossed by fear and doubt because it’s rooted in a God who created and upholds the universe using only his words of power. (Hebrews 1:3,11:3 ESV)
Don’t blow it. Protect your credibility.
Don’t be a condescending winner. Win with humility and lose with grace. If your identity and trust are rooted in God, the words that flow from your mouth will be gracious and humble. Be alert that if your inner peace and joy have emerged from a political victory, your trust may have been misplaced in a politician. My tweeting friend put it remarkably well, saying:
Be careful in the moments when your greatest peace and joy come at the expense of others’ distress and despair. There’s a better way.
-David Hertweck (@DavidHertweck)
Don’t miss it. Protect your faith.
Your identity isn’t rooted in your patriotism. Your religion isn’t your politics. Your god isn’t the U.S. Government. We all know this in our ‘knower,’ but not until our mind is at rest and our mouth speaks grace are we truly believing it in our heart. If election outcomes are shaping or driving your words, mood and behavior, your true religion may actually be politics. You may not be rioting in the streets or arrogantly gloating on cable television, but with every word and prevailing attitude you’re expressing what’s really in your heart.
These expressions are like the fruit that helps us identify what kind of tree we are. Don’t miss the chance to display the healthy fruit that blooms on a healthy tree and is growing out of a healthy root. Whatever your political views, when you belong to God you have complete freedom — freedom NOT to respond like everyone else who speaks without thinking, acts on impulses and complains about perceived misfortune. We need to embrace that unique freedom now and in all the political outcomes that lie ahead.
Here’s a thoughtful article on how to approach this election aftermath:
Living Like Christians After the Election by Erik Raymond
Authored by NCC Lead Pastor Dan Williams northcentral.org