For millions of Americans, the candidate they voted for did not win the election. Losing. No one likes to lose. Since literally childhood no person has ever wanted to lose. The strongest among us may have had the fortitude to recover from loss quickly, but no person who has ever wanted win and instead lost has been happy. The unusual experience that many Americans felt last night – and continue to feel waking up this morning – is an absence of the typical feelings of celebration associated with winning. For many the feeling is whatever the opposite of a “moral victory” feels like. Like a hamster in a wheel, my mind continues to race thinking about what feelings Christians should have. If Jesus was alive in the flesh and giving a speech, returning emails, or posting a blog – what would He tell me to feel?
Love. The Bible – God’s revelation of Himself to us – tells me to feel love. As a Christian emotions will come and go, but my identity is not in those emotions. I may feel a certain way but I am not defined by those emotions. I am not to be governed (no pun intended) by those emotions. Instead, I understand my identity to come from a book of the Bible like John. I (Jesus) am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing (15:5). If we are Christ followers who truly believe what Jesus teaches, then we are to be love – no matter who our President is, what our President says or who controls what in Congress. Love. That is what we are to feel. We are to abide in Jesus the Son – our identity in Him – not in a winner or loser. The Bible continues by teaching us God the Father is love (1 John 4:8). Therefore, if we as Christians are who we say we are, we will love. According to our identity, that will be the motivating emotion.
Simply put: if you are a Christian who refuses to love people with your words and deeds, you’re not doing it right! Jesus teaches in His Sermon on the Mount we are even to go as far as loving our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). Because the truth is we can win and still lose (Luke 9:25)! I felt nauseous to learn of a prayer request from a Christian asking to pray for one candidate but specifically do not pray for another. Such a tragic and disappointing misunderstanding of who God is and our relationship to Him.
The world is watching closer than ever before. Non-Christians seem to be ravenous for Christian hypocrisy. Authentic Christ-followers seem to be entering a season of history where they will be “guilty until proven innocent” – made worse by the words and actions of a majority who claim to be evangelical. But our identity is not in emotions, it is in Jesus Christ. Now is not the time to react with emotions, but to respond in love. Love for everyone. Love for panta ta ethne – as Jesus loved. Fearless love. Love that is not affected by skin color, ethnicity, religion or sexual preference.
Make no mistake. We have an enemy. But our enemy isn’t in the White House, isn’t at a gay bar and doesn’t wear a hijab. The enemy of mankind is Satan. Loving others as God first loved us is our only weapon against this enemy. Authentic love that is grounded in truth. Sincere love that is manifested in compassion. Humble love that can survive the emotional storm of others and still abide in Christ.
God’s Love and Ours – 1 John 4
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.