Unless you stayed up super late last night, you awoke this morning to an election result almost nobody anticipated: President-elect Trump having reached the necessary electoral tally through a handful of close-call states as well as a very usual Republican showing along the rust belt. The results will be analyzed to the n^th degree.
The personal impact of such events is as real as the event outcome itself, and every four years, the personal reactions, both externally and emotionally, are as varied as our fingerprints and as complicated as the electorate system. As pastors trying to facilitate healthy process we walk a thin line between specific comments that can strain tender relations and generic comments that carry no particular meaning.
I asked the Vista Campus Pastors what sorts of things were on their hearts and minds to communicate and connect with their campus communities and each of them had unique and good ideas that balanced hope, perspective and sensitivity. You’ve probably received and read some of their words. We agreed that Pastor Justin captured it well:
So, how are you today?
What are you feeling? Are you relieved or nervous? Are you optimistic or depressed? Are you scared or confident? Do you have a clear, hopeful vision for the future or do you feel lost and uncertain? Do you feel vulnerable or protected? Are you hurt or angry or are you rejoicing? Do you feel heard or dismissed? Are you emboldened or crushed? Are you apathetic or sympathetic?
Whatever the emotions are that you travel with today and in the days to come, know that they are good and from God. That statement will sound counter-intuitive if you are experiencing negative emotions or if you have been wounded by other people with unbridled emotions. However, it is true because emotions are what give color to life—they are necessary for us to experience life and engage humanity. God created us with them…all of them. And a full life in this world will mean experiencing them.
This campaign and election has left a lot of our country tired and raw. This is true if your candidate won, lost, or was even on the ballot. There are people we know that feel like they will be saved. There are others who feel like they’ve been punched in the gut. Some just want to take a shower and clean all the slung mud off. It will take time and the power of Jesus and His church to restore what has been broken over the past months. Unity will come when someone shows the world how to do it. The church has the best shot at setting the example. This has always been the case.
So, engage each other today. Talk with your neighbors, your family, your kids. Live out Romans 12:15-16. “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” Pray for each other. Be sincere. Our nation needs the hope of life found in Jesus, as do our own souls, so attend to them. The emotions you feel are real and so is this encouragement: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Remember you’re loved!