This year’s election might promise to be the most controversial we’ve ever seen. The never-ending stream of debates, mud-slinging TV ads, and Facebook arguments make it hard not to get dragged into name-calling and frustration. As Christians, it’s our responsibility to think carefully about our choice in the ballot box. But I think it’s very likely that God cares more about how we talk about politics in the weeks leading up to this election than who we actually vote for. Why do I say this?
First, because God cares about our hearts, and what we say comes out of our hearts (Luke 6:45, Matthew 15:18). Second, the standout characteristic of Jesus’ followers is supposed to be our love for each other (John 13:35). And third, the object of our lives is to bring glory to Christ, and how we behave in front of a watching world says a lot about who God is (1 Cor. 10:31, Col. 4:5-6).
With that in mind, here are some thoughts on applying “What Would Jesus Do?” to your life and conversations in election season 2016.
1. Show grace.
I fail at showing grace all the time, because the way I act doesn’t line up with the things I say I love. In theory, I love truth. In reality, I love being right. In theory, I love peace. In reality, I love avoiding confrontation because people might not like me anymore. In theory, I love graciousness. In reality, I love other people thinking I’m gracious. If you know your weaknesses and pray over your responses (and never write or speak when angry), your conversations will be a better reflection of Christ.
This also means speaking in a considerate way even if the person you’re engaging does not. We can’t control their words or reactions, only ours.