Everyone stop for a moment and take a deep breath.
On the evening of Tuesday November 8, I settled down in my easy chair expecting a relatively short evening which would end with Hillary Clinton winning the White House, but as the hours went by, the world watched Donald Trump emerge as the winner. The pundits who had often ridiculed Trump and his chances for being elected were at a loss for words. “America was in labor last night,” said one, “and it’s a boy!”
As an evangelical community, we have a message for our deeply divided nation. We speak to both sides in our political debate. I like the words of Karl Claassen who said that at a time like this we must remember that the winners will discover that the new regime will not be as good as they think, and the losers will discover that the new regime is not as bad as they think.
To those who voted for Hillary: You may have had many reasons for your choice, including her vision for tolerance, her gender, and her years of experience in government. For you, I’m sure that voting for Donald Trump with his moral baggage was simply unthinkable. It seemed as though every week—if not every day!—he made statements that came across as motivated by prejudice, anger, or pettiness. His comments about women were despicable. We understand your feelings all too well; we feel your pain.
I believe that most people who voted for Trump did not minimize or excuse his immoral behavior and words. They simply believed that his indiscretions, though many, did not reach the same level as those of Hillary Clinton, given her litany of personal scandals. So the questions became: which candidate will be most likely to promote an agenda favorable to freedom of religion? Which will be most likely to select constitutional judges, and to promote a culture of life? Which candidate is most likely to seek the counsel of Christian advisors?
To those who voted for Trump: Be careful that you don’t overestimate his ability and what he will accomplish. There is no way he can keep all his promises. He will have to backtrack; he will ignore or reinterpret at least some of the things he has promised. I warn you against expecting Trump to do what only prayer can do.
Trump is not the Messiah. If he tries to keep his promises to repeal Obamacare or to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, things will get messy very quickly. Opposition will be fierce and relentless.
To those on both sides of the aisle, let me say this: This is a time for listening, not shouting; it is a time for those who won to be humble, not vitriolic; and it is a time for those who lost to remember that they still have a role to play in the political process. Democracy is designed to correct itself.
The bottom line: Regardless of who was elected, America needs a spiritual awakening. Revival will not come from the top down—it must come from the bottom up. We will have the awakening we seek if we are as passionate about the gospel as we are about our political convictions.
Let’s work together to pick up the pieces of our broken culture. We do not have to agree about a given politician if we agree on Christ. That which unites us is greater than that which divides us.
Let us join hands and help bring healing to our bitterly divided land.