Thursdays in the Text: Weep with Those who Weep


No matter how you voted, Christian purpose in life has to include loving people who voted differently.

I’m writing on Election Day and there is some probability that states hard-hit by Sandy may extend popular voting. Of at least equal import, there have been sufficient allegations of fraud in registration and early voting that there may be challenges to the results.

So by the time this is published,  there may or may not yet be an outcome in the Presidential race.

Whoever ultimately wins, whoever ultimately loses in the political campaign, there is one who must not lose: the Body of Christ.

Christian Purpose Includes “Inviting In” Others

The hurtful, divisive style of campaigning that has been practiced in the world has long since invaded our Body.

  • We distribute “Christian” voter guides to every member, as if God has clearly anointed specific candidates and to vote otherwise is to vote oneself off the island.
  • We describe certain candidates as promoting “Christian family” values and make those values the sole ground for our electioneering, as if Jesus would recognize the American nuclear family as the Family he died for.
  • We are happy to confront Christians with whom we disagree: then label them as “confrontational” if they dare to respond.

Christian Purpose in Life Includes Humble Listening

It is time to take a lesson from how the Quakers listen to each other and the Word in their community discourse:

  • Listen first to God, quietly and in humility.
  • Then, “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.” (1 Peter 4:11)
  • And having spoken, allow others to weigh the words. “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)
  • Listen to others:  “ … everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak … “  (James 1:19)
  • Be careful in how you speak to and about others. Assume that you yourself see and hear God’s guidance only as “a reflection … in part” (1 Corinthians 13: 12) and God’s vision is seen clearly only as the entire community brings it into focus.

It is one thing to point out that another is treating you abusively because of your views. It is a different thing, and quite forbidden, to hate them in consequence: “You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him.” (Leviticus 19:17)

Christian Purpose Can’t Triumph:
It Weeps with Those who Weep

Speaking badly of others is always forbidden: “Do not speak against one another, brethren” (James 4:11) “You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people … I am the LORD.”  (Leviticus 19:16)   ” ... rid yourselves of … slander of every kind.” (1 Peter 2:11)

As the election ends with some elated and some disappointed, may we remember that our God urged us to “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). We are one Body, not two parties. Let’s try to set political triumphalism aside and work together to see Jesus triumph.

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About Carlene Hill Byron

The former editor of New England Church Life and The New England Christian, Carlene Hill Byron is enjoying being home in Maine after 20 years in North Carolina. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild. Find her at christianpurposeblog.wordpress.com, churchandmentalillness.wordpress.com and on Facebook at MyHouseHasHistory.
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