With great hesitation and with much fear and trembling, I will write the following words regarding the election year that has befallen us. I will freely admit, I hate winter, but I hate election season even more. Here’s why: I have friends on both sides of the political divide and what am about to write applies to both (it applies to all, any, and even none-of-the-above) camps and political parties. It is very theological and deep. Are you ready? Here it is:
Don’t Be a Goober!
This is not reference to chocolate covered peanut candies. Instead it’s saying (more bluntly) don’t be a jerk. Don’t be obnoxious. Don’t be demeaning. Paul’s advice to Timothy is good for all of us in an election year and every year (by the way, this counsel applies to social media too): Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone (2 Timothy 2:23-24)… i.e. don’t be a goober!
Jesus’ selection of disciples is a great example of how we can be.
Have you ever noticed who Jesus chose to be a part of his twelve disciples? Usually we lump all the disciples together and call them “fishermen.” But they weren’t all fishermen. Matthew had been a tax collector. You probably know tax collectors were hated. The aversion didn’t flow simply from a “Boo on the IRS” sentiment. In those days, tax collectors could (and did) overcharged for their services. More to the point, tax collectors were in cahoots with the ruling occupying army. They were collecting taxes for (what many considered) the evil empire of Rome. Think of Matthew as a “Make Rome Great Again” hat wearing government supporter. Then in the same circle of twelve was Simon (not Peter, the other one). He was described as a zealot. Zealots hated everything Rome. They probably didn’t even eat pizza. Think of Simon (not Peter, the other one) as a far, far left “Feel the Bern” t-shirt wearing hippie type (this isn’t totally accurate because this “hippie” Simon would have held a sign that read: Kill Caesar. He would not have been a peacenik.).
Matthew and Simon under normal circumstances would have hated one another. Yet Jesus choose these two polar opposites to be a part of his closest friends. Could it be that Jesus choose a red hat wearing government supporter and a tie-dyed t-shirt wearing kick-the-government-out fanatic to show that His love and transformative work can bring all people together–even people on opposite sides of the political divide?
Listen, we all know there are big differences in the world of politics. People have firm convictions. But can’t we have convictions and kindness too? Must we be quarrelsome? Paul would have argued that followers of the Prince of Peace promote harmony even to the most disagreeable people. Jesus said it even more specifically not only are we to show kindness but we are to “love our enemies.” Let’s do that.