Can We Stop Shaming One Another?

Can We Stop Shaming One Another? October 13, 2016
Last spring, when it looked like Mr. Trump had the nomination wrapped up, I told my wife I was not going to vote. The choice between Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump seemed like some crazy fiction like The Hunger Games. But I am reconsidering my abstention. 
Social media and blogs can be shockingly crass, vulgar, and disrespectful in the Christian community, so I usually keep my distance from the wrangling on issues like politics. But today I thought it might be helpful to offer a word, to contribute to what hopefully is a serious discourse in the faith world.
I’m not going to tell you who I’m voting for if I do, indeed, vote. I’m also not going to shame you for who you vote for. That would be an abuse of influence and condescending. I find it interesting (read: hypocritical) that so many who would denounce the clergy’s use of the pulpit to endorse a candidate or influence voters, do the same thing on social media.
You and I, we are human beings. We all have our own baggage, wounds, and brokenness. And our faith requires us to be aware of that in each other, and to honor one another. Our speech towards one another (Church universal) should be hymns and spiritual psalms, not angry diatribes.
We all have our opinions too. And sometimes those opinions can get the best of us. I am exhibit A. Many of you are #NeverTrump and that’s fine. Other’s feel the same about Ms. Clinton. Great. Still others are voting third party. Good luck! I wonder if we can vote our conscience, like Jen Hatmaker suggests, and actually respect another’s choice–and that might mean affirming someone’s decision to vote for someone you and I find reprehensible.
When I think of the church’s role in this election, I don’t see it as a voting bloc, even though I know that it is. I see it as the beacon of hope in a time when despair seems to reign. And what becomes of that beacon when you and I devour one another on social media, and on the national stage?
This is no separatist’s rant. I believe we should engage. But the way in which we do so is important. The world will know we are Christians by our love, not by our divisive tongues.
So go vote. Vote your conscience. I may not agree with you. But I am sure going to try and love you. I’m sure going to try and discuss the issues with you. But woe is me if I throw a stone at you.
“Love the brotherhood of believers.” –The Apostle Peter

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