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This episode publishes the day after the U.S. presidential election, but I recorded it the day of the election. So even if the race has been called by the time you hear this, I don’t know who won. My motivation for choosing the passage I’m reading today has nothing to do with the results of the election and everything to do with our behavior in light of those results. I hope and pray we are neither embittered by a loss nor conceited by a win. I hope and pray we are gracious and loving, win or lose. Jesus said, “If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? … If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that (Mt. 5:46–47). He also said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (Jn 13:35). Paul wrote in Galatians 5 that the fruit of the Spirit—among other qualities—is love. Clearly, Jesus wants us to love one another. In fact, he commanded us to love and empowered us by his Spirit to love.
As a podcaster and author of a newly released book, I’ve been trying to be more active on social media, but it’s been difficult for me lately because of the strong opinions slapping me in the face about how Christians should or shouldn’t vote. My heart breaks when I read posts like the condescending judgment of a well-known Christian author accusing certain voters of acting like Judas to an F-bomb dropped in a public forum by a former pastor who professes Christianity. What is going on? I hope I don’t sound judgmental saying that, because I honestly want to know how this treatment of our brothers and sisters is acceptable.
I want to be known for expressing love. Not my opinions or politics, but my love.
Some people are more difficult to love, but God’s grace sufficiently supplies whatever we lack. God’s resources are unlimited, including His reservoir of love. 1 John 4:12 says, “No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” (NLT) In other words, no one can see God, but they can see God in you and me if we love each other. They can see him and feel his love for them through our love for them.
I want to help people see God, don’t you? No matter who wins the election and no matter who my brothers and sisters voted for, I want to be known for expressing the fullness of God’s unconditional love.
Longing to Belong: Discovering the Joy of Acceptance is now available for purchase on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Walmart.com, Booksamillion.com and Christianbook.com. It’s also available for download to your Kindle or from the Apple store for your iBooks app. Or visit my website to purchase a copy at shawnamariebryant.com
This week’s scripture: 1 John 4:7-12 and 19-21