We are currently in one of the most toxic post-election cycles I have ever seen. It is a political minefield with friends and family. More than one family asked me to pray with them this weekend at our services as feelings were hurt because of political discussions that had taken place around the table at Thanksgiving.
It reminds me of the joke about the lifelong Democrat supporter who was on his deathbed and suddenly announced that he was switching to the Republicans. “I can’t believe you’re doing this” said his friend. “For your entire life you’ve been a staunch Democrat. Why would you want to become a Republican now?” “Because I’d rather it was one of them that dies than one of us.” LOL. Whoah, it is a polarizing time in the US.
So, how do you navigate these tumultuous waters with friends and family who are adamantly opposed to your vote or your way of thinking:
1. Don’t talk about politics with them if you know they adamantly disagree with you. Stay away from it if you can. There is not much that can help your relationship here.
2. Respect their right to choose for themselves. For some reason we are often focused on persuading people. I know I feel this temptation too. But resist it. I find that people we are trying to convince against their will are of the same opinion still. Often we will be talking to unbelievers and when it comes to the Bible and Jesus, they don’t have the same convictions. Don’t let politics get in the way of your example of a kind and loving follower of Jesus. If they are not believers, don’t expect them to have the same values you do. It is not realistic.
3. Tell them you don’t argue politics because it is a private matter to you. If they insist, and sometimes they do, ask them, “are you really interested in what and why I have my views, or are you just passionate about what you want me to know about your beliefs?” If you sense that they have an open mind and will respectfully allow your thoughts to be expressed, then wade in, but carefully.
4. Try to find points of agreement. There is so much that is good that you have in common with them. Keep it there if you can. It is incredible to see the difference of feelings people will have for us when we show them the things we have in common, i.e. sports, entertainment, etc. Even politically: caring for the poor, respect for others, equality of all human beings, etc. This helps build understanding and trust. Don’t compromise your beliefs, but find as much common ground as you can, and in doing so you are strengthening understanding and relationship with them.
5. Let them know that you prayed for the last president and that you are going to pray for this one too. Followers of Jesus pray for those in authority, as the scriptures tell us to, and we wish for God to lead each one for the good of all Americans.
My final thought: Don’t make your big pursuit to show others that your political thoughts are superior. Make your big goal to show them Jesus with your life.
Scriptures For Thought:
Speaking of Jesus they said:
Luke 4:22 Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips. “How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” (NLT)
Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. (NLT)
1 Peter 2:12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. (NLT)
1 Timothy 2:1-4 1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. (NLT)