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Pray for God's guidance
September 17, 2012
Pastor Mark Little, Stockholm Lutheran Church, Cokato

Like many people, I’m concerned with the level of angry, divisive behavior that we see during this campaign season. Politicians in both parties, and people on the streets, say things that we think aren’t true.

Non-biased “fact checker” organizations reveal that candidates from both parties too often stretch the truth, or only share the partial truths that they want people to believe.

Too often, even we Christians get caught up in disagreements, and go away frustrated, or simply stop talking. We avoid certain people – even ones we care about. We don’t talk to neighbors, or co-workers, or family members we know and love, simply because we happen to think differently.

There are some people who don’t get involved in much political conversation. They just pick their candidates early on, and then avoid the whole political conversation.

Some let the Bible guide their voting choices (I do this, as well). But, many faithful people look to the Bible for guidance, and sometimes end up voting differently!

We look at this confusing political situation and we ask, can’t we, as Christians, and reasonable citizens, do better than this? Is it possible for us to have the courage to engage in decent, respectful conversation about matters of deep importance, and still preserve treasured relationships when we disagree?

I say we can, and we must, for the good of the country, and the good of all. Even if neither of us changes our mind, we will have shared what we think, we may have learned something, and we will understand each other better. With God’s help, we can pursue our Christian calling, as a citizen, to engage respectfully (sometimes assertively) in civil discussion that honors people and candidates with differing views than ours.

And if you think all this talk about careful words and conversation has no place in guiding our country’s future, remember that many words and ideas and plans were exchanged for years as our country was forming, and before our country ever had a name. In addition, our founding fathers invested much time in carefully crafting every word of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Words are important, and they matter a great deal.

I urge you, in Jesus’ name, to work on having constructive conversations about politics in the coming weeks – even if you’re among the 90 percent who are sure who you will vote for. Don’t judge others’ opinions as “wrong,” but listen carefully and respectfully to someone who has some different thoughts than you. Try to hear what the other person is saying, and why they are saying it.

Pursue truth – God’s truth, and God’s priorities. Think of these conversations as another way you can offer your life to your Lord, in service to others, and to our country.

Finally, remember Jesus’ command to love one another as He has loved us, pray, and then put the politics, and your relationships, in God’s hands. Pray for God’s will to be done at the polls Nov. 6, pray for those you disagree with, pray for all the candidates (as God commands us to do), and pray that, together, we will hear God’s voice.