Daniel Darling, author of A Way With Words, recently sat down and offered words of encouragement for us as we navigate this election season. For more on using our words for good, check out his book here.
The video is above, and the entire transcript is below.
Okay, so how do you endure this election season and keep your friendships? Here are a couple of tips.
Determine Friendships Come First.
First of all, make a determination that you are not going to let an election or politics get between you and your most important relationships, whether it’s a friendship, or it’s your family members. Do not do that. Decide that while you think politics is important, and you may have strong disagreements with people around you—people you love—you’re not going to make that a litmus test for your friendship. You’re not going to make that a factor in your deciding.
You’re going to have to do this in a couple of ways. You’re going to have to first of all decide to sometimes bite your tongue. I have very strong opinions about a lot of things, but there are some crowds and communities and groups that I’m in, and friendships that I’m with, where I sometimes bite my tongue for the sake of my friendships. This doesn’t mean we don’t speak out; this doesn’t mean we don’t have opinions; this doesn’t mean we don’t stand up for what’s right. But we do it in a way that honors the people around us. So that’s number one: make that determination.
Number two: Listen. Be willing to listen to those around you who have a different opinion about things. I always say that every Christian should have someone to the right of them they think is a little bit crazy and someone to the left of them they think is a little bit crazy. It’s good to hear from a variety of perspectives.
It doesn’t mean you’re going to change your mind about how you’re going to vote or some specific policy, but it gives context and some ideas and understanding about why people might come to the positions they come to. And it may actually help sharpen your arguments and shape the way you think about things.
Look beyond the election.
I think the third thing to help us maintain our friendships and relationships in a political season is to look beyond the election. The election is very important. Every election is important. There are important issues on the ballot that affect human flourishing, so I’m not minimizing that at all. But, ultimately, as Christians, we aren’t looking toward the next election, but toward that city whose builder and maker is God.
This election will come and go. Someone will win, and someone will lose. And no matter what happens, we trust ultimately in the kingdom of God. So have a perspective beyond this election.
Take the long view.
Number four and final: take the long view of your friendship, of your relationship. In a year from now, six months from now, do you want to look back with regret and say, Man, I had that great friendship; Man, I had that great relationship; Man, I wish I was closer to my family members. However, because I let the passions of the moment and the adrenaline of an election season get in the way of my friendship, I no longer have that? You don’t want to have that regret, so don’t do that.
So hopefully this short video helps you, gives you some guidance, on making it through an election season with your friendships intact. Remember, ultimately, as ambassadors of the kingdom of God, we care very deeply about about issues. We should get involved in politics. We should care about these things. But ultimately we’re telling a better and bigger story.
Our main thing about us should be that we are in Christ. We’ve been redeemed, we’ve been rescued from sin and death, and we’re telling the story that Christ has come to renew and restore souls and renew and restore the world. So let’s let that mark our lives instead of this temporary moment.