The presidential election has dominated our national consciousness for over a year … and now it’s over.
A significant portion of the population was going to be disappointed regardless of the outcome. For many, there are new questions. For some there is fear. Uncertainty.
Elections like this are amplifications of our everyday experience: we get a new boss, there’s a new organizational structure, etc. You find yourself coming under new authority. Maybe you’re pleased – you advocated for it. Maybe you’re resistant – you openly and publicly advocated against it.
In either case, these transitions are an opportunity for unity or division. An opportunity to reflect the light of Christ or to blur the lines between serving Him and serving the world.
So whether we won or lost, how do we live as Christians with distinctiveness? How do we handle these transitions in the everyday changes and challenges at work, and in our public and civic life?
Here’s what one of the earliest followers of Jesus wrote to the church about how to live well under authority:
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
(1 Peter 2:13-17, emphasis mine)
Now, we are not living in Peter’s context. We aren’t conquered people persecuted under the Roman government; we vote, we participate and we can change things. And we aren’t slaves serving masters; we have choice over what we do and where we work.
But truth is truth. So whether it’s with your neighbors talking politics, or your co-workers at the office dealing with change, here is a framework to think through and apply:
For the Lord’s sake — This speaks to motivation. Every decision and every response should be made “for the Lord’s sake.” Because we can speak freely, vote, and choose our work, we must ask — is our advocacy before the decision and our response after the decision “for the Lord’s sake?”
Freedom requires sacrifice — This speaks to calibration. In a big-picture spiritual sense, the gospel has set us free. In a daily, practical sense we live freely, and can freely express ourselves and our preferences. But our freedom cannot be used as a cover-up for the unbridled pursuit of our own self-interest. True freedom demands that we exercise restraint and lay down our self-interest for the good of others.
Love and respect everyone — This speaks to application. Our basic operating principle as followers of Jesus is to love and respect everyone. That’s hard work. But it’s gratifying, Christ-exalting and it will facilitate unity in a potentially divisive culture, whether that’s at work or with your neighbors across the aisle.
So regardless of how you feel about the election results, and regardless of the particular circumstances and dynamics of your workplace, let God’s Word shape you.
And as it shapes you, you will find yourself characterized by peace where there is turmoil; by love where there is divisiveness; by joy where there is despair; with wisdom where there is confusion.
And remember, that’s not you — that’s God’s Spirit. And it is transformative. For you. For your workplace. For this nation.
For the Lord’s sake, take advantage of this moment to let the light of Christ shine brightly.