This statement was shared by the elders on Sunday, Nov 13, 2016.
The elders would like to share some thoughts with you about how we as followers of Jesus can respond to the presidential election this past Tuesday. We know that within our congregation, as is the case across our nation, there is a wide range of emotions. Some of you are satisfied or happy with the outcome and some of you are disappointed, angry or fearful. And of course, there is some relief that the election is finally over.
Before we share our thoughts, we would like you to hear what a nationally known television sports commentator, Ernie Johnson, had to say this week. Ernie is an NBA analyst along with former NBA players, Charles Barclay and Shaq O’Neil, and they were responding personally to the election. While we might not all agree with everything he said, there were several points that we as elders do want to emphasize.
First, as Ernie said, we know who is on the throne. God is working out his sovereign and eternal plan in history. His kingdom will prevail and as followers of Jesus, we can rest secure in His love and power. Our ultimate hope is in him, not political leaders. And since Scripture does tell us to pray for our leaders, whether we agree with them or not, whether we like them or not, we are to do that.
Ernie also talked about being the best man, the best neighbor, the best citizen that he can be. The way for us to be the best we can be is for us to be like Jesus. And remember that Isaiah 61 describes Jesus as one who is anointed by God “to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to announce the year of his grace…and to comfort all who mourn”
Now, as Christ’s representatives, God has given us his Spirit to carry on the ministry that Jesus had. We are Christ’s body in a world that is broken and so we are to be agents of reconciliation and healing as we share and live out the gospel in our lives. This is especially relevant because of the growing violence in our society and the rhetoric of this last presidential campaign. We have a climate in our country now in which people, who are called “workers of iniquity” in Scripture, apparently feel emboldened to act on and spread their message of hate. As a result, many people are understandably fearful, especially those who are most vulnerable.
Jesus drew people from all kinds of backgrounds to himself through his love and grace. He always spoke the truth, but with grace. His harsh words were for the self-righteous religious people—his words of grace were for those who were most vulnerable. So, here at First Baptist we must be like Jesus. At a time when our nation is divided and when many minority groups feel unsafe, we must first be a safe people with each other. And then we must provide a safe place for all those who need Jesus, regardless of their status in our society.
Jesus said to his world, “Come unto me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Let us live like Jesus. Let us love like Jesus. And let us lead like Jesus in our world today.