365 Days

The next presidential election is 365 days away. It looks like the race to the White House in 2020 is going to be one of the ugliest displays of American politics my generation has ever seen. How the candidates speak of each other and to each other reminds me of the social skills of middle school children.

Middle school students are old enough to express their opinions, but unfortunately many of them are too immature to communicate their values. So, instead of debating differing ideas, they resort to arguing over opinions. The argument always lowers itself to the tactics that require the least amount of intelligence: name-calling, lying, exaggerations, twisted facts and even hand gestures. Eventually, egos start writing checks they will never be able to cash.

In a weird, but sad kind of way, I have always found the circus of presidential politics to be entertaining. I remember the debates of previous elections being heated, argumentative and tense, but also civil. In 2016, the tone changed. At least that is how I remember it.

Today the process is not entertaining. It’s dirty. It’s juvenile. Partisan politics override the issues. Personalities focus on dismantling the credibility of opponents. Spin makes the truth almost impossible to know. The real human need for leadership and cooperation gets lost in the fray. All candidates and our current president now behave this way. Not one distinguishes their values as being different when it comes to how they pursue being elected.

That, my friend, speaks to character. I am straining to find a candidate from any political party who is displaying good character in the process of the pursuit of the office.

What is good character? What does it look like?

Generally speaking, good character is when a person displays integrity, honesty, compassion, loyalty, humility, fortitude, and courage. Good character will make a sacrifice for the good of others and not call attention to it. A person of good character inspires others to have good character. The Bible says, “Character produces hope.” Based upon what I have seen from the personalities involved, I have a difficult time finding good character.

I realize this sounds judgmental, but I don’t mean for it to sound that way. I am no judge of the people seeking the office or the person sitting in it. I am simply forming an opinion based on what has been reported to me, the comments I have heard in debates, and personal research of the personalities involved.

I’m thankful the election is not today. Not because of any particular stance the candidates have made, but because I don’t see any of them displaying good character in the process. None of them have yet to inspire others to have good character. None of them offer hope through their behavior.

Where does this leave me?

The madness creates an opportunity for me to trust: not the president, the candidates or even the process. No it gives me an opportunity to wholeheartedly trust the character of God. When it comes to civil leaders, Christians are quick to point to Romans 13:1…

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.

People really like this verse when the person they support wins the election, but what about when the opposing candidate wins? How could God place a person who lacks character in the most powerful position in the world? News flash: God does not dole out authority based on a person’s character. If He did, there would be no bad leaders, bosses, coaches, pastors, teachers, or parents—ever! He gives authority to those whom will best fulfill His plan of redemption. Think of the government and religious leaders who had authority when Jesus was nailed to the cross. Why did God give them their authority? To fulfill His plan.

I know. It is hard to accept this, but that is why it is called trust. Over the next 365 days you will be tempted to doubt, fear, rage, despise and despair. Don’t give in. Trust the character of God.

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