This has been one of the most contentious election years in recent history. Neighbors and families have been divided by their political differences. I have witnessed arguing, pettiness, and hatred being spewed. It hurts to see it. Perhaps you’re hurt by it as well.
I hunger for wrongs to be made right. I thirst for the hurt to be healed and the broken to be fixed. I want decay and death to give way to life and human flourishing. Like you, I’m longing for God’s justice and shalom (peace) to overwhelm our unjust world. And as I long for the brokenness out there to be healed, I also desire the brokenness in me to be healed.
When the outcome of this election is known, there will be one side rejoicing in victory and another side mourning a loss. There will also be many who do not identify with either side and cannot count any win as a true victory. Every outcome feels like an injustice in some way.
Longing for goodness
Perhaps some of you reading these words will say, “There can’t be a god with all this injustice, suffering, and ugliness, and if there is, he can’t be powerful and loving.” I get it. I understand. But whether or not you realize it now, your anger, disappointment, and desire for the ugly realities of our broken world to be fixed are a longing for the beauty of God.
How do we know something is unjust unless we believe there is a standard of justice? Why do we get angry and hurt by suffering unless we know it shouldn’t be that way? How do we know a line is crooked unless there is a straight line to compare it to?
If we long for goodness, beauty, and justice, there must be One who created these things. That Creator must exhibit those things because you can’t give away what you do not possess. As we yell and shake our fists at all the wrongs in the world, we are longing for God to make the sad things untrue, to make the ugly beautiful, to heal the hurt.
We are joining in the song of the ancient Jewish people when they sang, “He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the Lord’s unfailing love” (Psalm 33:5). We join the prophet Amos when he wrote, “But let justice flow like water, and righteousness, like an unfailing stream” (Amos 5:24).
Make a Positive impact
As we prepare to hear the results of this historical election, in the middle of so much strife and division, I want to encourage you to seek love and peace, pursue justice, and look how you can make a positive impact in your own community.
As we hunger and thirst for righteousness, sometimes the need is right in our own neighborhood. In one of my sermons, I said that if our community doesn’t get better as a result of our presence, we shouldn’t be here. We wanted to serve our community with such love, generosity, and compassion that if we were to pack up and leave, the people of our community would protest because we added so much value and made the place so much better.
Serving our local public schools was the most effective place to start. A few staff members and I set up an appointment with local school principals. The school staff was initially skeptical of us. They wanted to know what we wanted. When I told them we simply wanted to serve, they were surprised. I asked how we could help students, teachers, and staff become more effective. From that first meeting, we have now expanded to seven school partners in our community.
The joy we have experienced in partnering with these schools has replaced the despair we once felt in the state of our schools. Perhaps the despair we feel in this election can be replaced by joy if we decide to serve others instead of hating them. If the people of God truly hungered and thirsted for God’s righteousness, imagine all the good we could do.
We want to love our community well because Jesus loved us. There are many examples of followers of Christ acting as the hands and feet of God in broken places. Look around. There is no shortage of opportunity to find a place to bring God’s love. Jesus is a holistic Savior. He fed and healed people. It was often when Jesus met a person’s physical need that they opened up to Him meeting their need for salvation.
In this election season we can focus on being right or we can focus on loving our neighbor. We can gloat or we can be humble. We can yell or we can bring comfort. The decision is yours, but only one path will lead to happiness. The other will lead to bitterness and loneliness.
Happy are those who partner with God to meet the deep hurts of the world with His deep love. There’s plenty of room at God’s banquet table—all the food and drink you want. Come; you’re invited to the life you were created for.