This political climate is unlike any other we have experienced. Of course, there have always been disagreements and debates about which person would be the preferred president, but unlike years past, the 2020 election has created an entirely new demand for our attention — and our opinions. And it’s not necessarily a good thing.
If anybody scrolls through social media for even a minimal amount of time, they will immediately come across multiple posts about who is voting for whom, what their opinions are, and why they won’t tolerate anyone who disagrees with them. People are unfriending others, and I am not only talking about on social media. Families are literally being split up, and they are not even speaking with each other because they differ in their political stance. The division only seems to increase as we get closer to November.
The first presidential debate demonstrated this divisiveness as President Trump and Joe Biden were not only arguing, but they were talking over each other and trying to diminish their opponent. The hum on the news and social media afterward was deafening. Everybody had an opinion about the debate itself, and then began the threads of even more debating between friends, families, and Christians.
Many believers are on one side or the other, and many are very vocal about who they believe should run our country — who they think Jesus would vote for.
But the question is not who Jesus would vote for, the question should be: what would Jesus say in response to all this division? What would His reaction be to this election season? He would model how to love those who vote differently. He would demonstrate love with those who have opposing beliefs.
In this divisive culture, we need to model Matthew 22:37-40, “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” The first commandant is to love the Lord your God with all of who you are. When you do that, you are then able to fulfill the second commandment, which is to love your neighbor as yourself. That means loving your neighbor whose vote is opposed to yours. It is loving your neighbor who disagrees with you. It is loving your neighbor who speaks harshly to you or about you because of your beliefs.
If we want to live like Jesus lived, then we need to love like Jesus loved. And Jesus loved. He said in Matthew 5:43-45 that we need to love our enemies and bless those who curse us, which is contrary to what the world says: love your neighbor and hate your enemy. We are witnessing a lot of hate right now. Jesus continued, “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” We need to learn to live together. And not only that, to love one another. God is not partial, and gives provision and life to the good, the evil, the just, the unjust, the Democrat, and the Republican.
But what does it practically look like to love your neighbors and enemies? It is serving them, praying for those who are against you, having a civil conversation with those who view politics differently than you and emerging from the conversation with grace and understanding. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, but just because somebody is voting for the other party does not mean that you cannot be united in standing for the things of God.
Ultimately it comes down to the fact that love is a choice. You can choose to walk in love, even with those who won’t return it. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did? He demonstrated His love for us by dying for us even while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).
Our goal shouldn’t simply be to convince others to vote the way we’re voting. Our goal should be to share the gospel and love of Christ with others. If you want to see the expansion of the kingdom of God here on earth, then love those who hate you.
Miles McPherson is the Senior Pastor of the Rock Church in San Diego. He is also a motivational speaker and author. McPherson's latest book “The Third Option” speaks out about the pervasive racial divisions in today’s culture and argues that we must learn to see people not by the color of their skin, but as God sees them—humans created in the image of God.