I have been a politics nerd for as long as I can remember. In high school, my U.S. Representative knew me by name because I worked so diligently in his campaign. I introduced some of my high school teachers to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as I (and several others) showed him around my hometown. I established a chapter of Teenage Republicans at my school, and we worked tirelessly for Republican candidates around home.
At that young age, I thought that if someone had an “R” beside his name in the voting booth, that meant he or she was marvelous and deserved to be elected. Well, my political views have greatly changed since that time, and I could not consider myself a Republican anymore—modern Republicans are just too liberal for me.
President-elect Trump is far too liberal for me, and the immorality he demonstrated before and during his campaign made my stomach churn. If the President-elect was far too liberal for me, I don’t need to tell you what I thought about Secretary Clinton’s policies, and her involvement in scandal after scandal seriously troubled me. Thus, while I had absolutely no intentions of voting, I saw that Evan McMullin was on the Virginia ballot; I voted for McMullin to—at least in my heart—protest the election of someone I felt was unfit to serve. I only voted for McMullin and left the rest of the ballot blank. My 18 year-old son who voted in his first Presidential election on Tuesday thought I was absolutely crazy for voting as I did (and he had no trouble letting me know that), but I voted my conscience. And, a vote with one’s conscience is never a wasted vote.
I stayed up rather late Tuesday night watching election results; I went to bed about 5:00 on Wednesday morning. As I watched the votes come in, I realized that this election had taught me several lessons.
The folly of human wisdom
Most people throughout the country really believed that Hillary Clinton would be elected President—many polls had her ahead and the exit polls showed her victorious over Mr. Trump. Not so.
Human wisdom fails, and we need direction. “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps” (Jer 10:23). Man needs guidance, and he cannot find that guidance in his own wisdom, for his wisdom is often quite faulty.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I had been telling my mother for the past two weeks or so that Trump was going to win (although, I had him winning in a landslide).
People like change.
One of the reasons I told my mother that Trump would win is because it’s very difficult for the same party to win three elections in a row (although it has happened several times in our history). The electorate was itching to try something different than the past 8 years, and they voted in someone completely different from President Obama.
As Christians, we need to be careful with change. The truth of God does not change. “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens” (Ps 119:89). “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matt 24:35). We can change the way we dress or the way we reach out to people or the preaching style we use, but we can never change or alter one word of Scripture—not one word.
People can be gracious.
Donald Trump had attacked Hillary Clinton over and over and over. He was brash, he was condescending, and he was rude. However, once he won the Presidency, candidate Trump became President-elect Trump and he acted like it. His victory speech had several nice things to say about Secretary Clinton. President Obama who himself was the recipient of much angst from Mr. Trump was very kind in his remarks.
People can be civil and polite, and we must always strive to be so. “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Col 4:6). My we always strive to be gracious.
People can change.
Both major party candidates have changed their political stripes over the years. Hillary Clinton had in 1964 been an avid Barry Goldwater supporter. Donald Trump has been all over the map—Democrat, Independent, Reform Party, and Republican. He has held different positions—e.g., abortion—than he now holds.
Anyone can change, and when we see we’ve been in error, we must change. The Apostles who hid in terror on the day of the resurrection became men willing to die for preaching the Gospel of Jesus. The Apostle Paul realized the error of his persecution when Jesus appeared to him, and the one-time murderer of Christians became the Apostles to the Gentiles.
The Gospel has the power to change lives. Yes, people can change.
Words have power.
Donald Trump was elected President of the United States because he said what people wanted to hear. I don’t mean to imply that Trump was disingenuous in what he said, but his words connected with the American people. Trump was seriously outspent, but his words connected with the right people, and he was elected President of the United States.
The words we speak to one another can have serious, serious consequences: we can tear down or we can build up: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph 4:29).
We dare never forget that the Word of God has great power. Jesus said: “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (Jn 6:63). “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12).
We need to allow the Word of God to have full effect in our lives and teach that Word that it may have full effect in the lives of others.
These are some of the lessons I learned while watching the election returns What lessons did you learn?