By: Alicia Stewart
A recent article on the internet by NBC news stated that at least half of Americans have “significant stress” caused by the upcoming presidential election. The American Psychological Association has even given this state of anxiety a name: “Election Stress Disorder”. The extreme levels of emotional states are clearly seen on social media. The amount of name-calling and mud-slinging is simply out of control. The media continues to attempt to polarize the nation. As it was in the Civil War, families are turning on one another, friends are losing their friendships, and Christians are in the thick of all the bickering and arguing.
While mainstream media tries to distract us with the sins committed by the candidates (and their spouses) many people have come to believe it is simply a choice of the lesser of the evils. Arguments rage over who is the biggest sinner. None of the candidates are pure and holy, just as no Christian is pure and holy, except through Christ. Romans 3:22–23 tells us “…the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe. For there is no distinction. Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives.” Romans 3:10 reminds us that “…None is righteous, just, and truthful and upright and conscientious, no not one.” The scriptures also tell us “…every sin and blasphemy (every evil, abusive, injurious speaking, or indignity against sacred things) can be forgiven…” (Matthew 12:31). Humans are not righteous. The Bible says “…What comes out of a man is what makes a man unclean and renders [him] unhallowed…out of the heart (of men, come base and wicked thoughts, sexual immorality, stealing, murder adultery. Coveting (a greedy desire to have more wealth), dangerous and destructive wickedness, deceit, unrestrained (indecent) conduct, an evil eye (envy), slander (evil speaking, malicious misrepresentation, abusiveness), pride (the sin of an uplifted heart against God and man), foolishness (folly, lack of sense, recklessness, thoughtlessness). All these evil [purposes and desires]…make the man unclean…” (Mark 7:21–23).
When we are faced with inflammatory words the New Testament says we are to bridle our tongues (James 1:26) and not depend on being justified by obedience (Galatians 3:10). Proverbs tells us “Hatred stirs up contentions…” (10:12) and James 1:4 warns us that our desires lead to strife, discord, feuds, conflicts, quarrels, and fighting (Paraphrased). We are admonished by 2 Timothy 2:23 to “…refuse (shut your mind against, have nothing to do with) trifling (ill-informed, unedifying, stupid controversies over ignorant questionings, for you know that they foster strife and breed quarrels.”
We must retain unity among Christians, regardless of our personal opinions. We must remember who we are in Christ. John chapter 17 goes into great detail about the words Christ prayed before His betrayal by Judas. Jesus prayed for His followers. In verses 14–17, Jesus says He gave us God’s word and that His followers would be hated, “because they are not of the world [do not belong to the world], just as I am not of the world.” Christ continues on asking God to “keep and protect them from the evil one.” He then asked God to “Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them Holy] by the Truth…” He makes it clear in verse 20 that this prayer was not just for the apostles “…but for all those who will ever come to believe…” In verse 21, as He continued praying, Christ asked that the believers “…all may be one, [just] as Your, Father, are in Me and I in You…one in Us…” and then in verse 23, Jesus pleads for believers to “…become one and perfectly united…”
Being united does not mean we will always agree, but it does mean we will treat one another with love and respect.
2 Timothy 2:24 explicitly says “…the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome (fighting and contending). Instead, he must be kindly to everyone and mild-tempered [preserving the bond of peace]…” We are also told to “…love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind…with all your strength…” and “love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30–31).
Are election stresses causing emotions to overflow? God tells us in Matthew to “…not worry and be anxious…” (6:31) but it also says to strive to His ways of doing and being right (Matthew 6:33, paraphrased) and continues to say “…do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow…” (Matthew 6:34). The book of Mark also tells us that “cares and anxieties of the world” can “creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless” (4:19).
“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding” (Proverbs 3:5) “For the Lord shall be your confidence, firm and strong, and shall keep your foot from being caught [in a trap or some hidden danger]” (Proverbs 3:26). God always holds us in the palm of His hand.
All scriptures and references are from the Amplified version of the Bible.