Only eight more days until our national elections are over for 2016. It feels like there is more contention this election year than there ever has been in the past, and perhaps it's because we know that above all things God looks at the heart. When the prophet Samuel was looking to anoint a new king because Israel's king, Saul, had gone mad, Samuel was looking for a leader in much the same way many of us have a tendency to do. But God taught us all something that day:
"But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart'" (1 Samuel 16:7).
Deep down inside, many of us know this to be true, which is why this election feels harder than most others have. The character issues of the top candidates have been glaring this election season. We haven't been able to read or watch the news for months (or years if we're really honest...) without some part of either candidate's character being on full display.
As I have wrestled with this tension for the past month or so, yesterday I was reminded that simultaneously Jesus tells us,
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye" (Matthew 7:1-5).
I don't know about you, but that just makes things murkier than they were before! Thank You, God. :) I was recently asked, "what do you do when you've studied the Bible and you're still unsure of what God is saying to us here, today, and how we're supposed to apply it?" There are a myriad of things one can do, until at the end of the day, prayer and humility are our best resources.
I'm thankful for a couple of things this election season: 1) God alone is judge, and 2) I have more important things in my own life to focus on getting right with God than I do judging others. So here's to humbly living in community for the next eight days until this election is over and we can all collectively return to the important realities of our everyday lives. I'm thankful governments still rest on Jesus' shoulders, and they always will.