It’s Election Day and I’m betting you’re feeling a little hopeful, a little exhausted, a little frustrated and a little anxious.

It’s the day after an election we all fear a bit, right?

And because of that, I’d like to offer an alternate narrative.

Most of us have spent 2020 just trying to survive – emotionally, physically and/or financially. We are fatigued and worn out, even if we don’t want to admit it. Then, we threw in a contentious and high stakes national election to cap it all off because we all needed more stress in our life. And, fewer friends on social media, evidently.

I believe, without a doubt, we feel the divisiveness even more because of social media. Don’t believe me? Go watch this on Netflix.

We are consuming, literally, hundreds of people’s opinions every day, then internalizing them, letting them weigh on us and ultimately trying to love people (while also arguing with them). No wonder we all want to throw our hands up and say, to hell with it and then promptly give up on humanity.

So, what’s the antidote to the day after an election?

BELIEVE IN HUMANITY.

A crucial first step is walking outside your front door, wherever that may be, and remembering that we belong to one another. I’m not talking about a ridiculous “let’s-all-hold-hands-and-sing-kumbaya” kind of belonging. Rather, walk out your front door, wave your neighbor over to the driveway, maybe hand them a Dr Pepper and tell them how grateful you are that they’re in your life, no matter what political sign they have staked in their front yard. Mean it. And then start to have an honest-to-goodness dialogue.

It’s easy to cast folks as “those people.” You know, “those” anti-this or pro-that. But you know who those people are? They’re your siblings, your next door neighbor, your boss, your kid’s teacher, your best friend, your pastor and maybe even your spouse. Those people aren’t some abstract prototype the media has constructed. Instead, they’re real life people, with real life feelings, that you undoubtedly love, very much.

We have this false narrative that if a person in our life is of an opposing political party we must be enemies (at worst) or we could certainly never be real friends (at best).

We have this false narrative that because someone chooses to vote for a candidate, they bought the entire platform, never compromising on anything.

We have this false narrative that Christians are only authentic and God-fearing if they vote for {insert candidate’s name here}.

We have this false narrative that our hope, and our future, lies in the balance of a politician’s hands.

We have this false narrative that if we argue persuasively enough, “those people” will finally see the error of their ways.

I think it’s way past time to cast aside the false narratives and see people, issues and the way in which we solve those challenges, through a human lens, rather than a political one. Our political parties thrive on pitting us against one another in an either/or, extreme case scenario.

And I ain’t buying it anymore.

Are politics and our role in dutifully electing candidates with a moral conscience an important responsibility? Dang straight it is.

But, it is not what we were created for, or who we were created to be.

It’s time to remember the long game here. I wonder, where will you be in 150 years? Unless you know of a fountain of youth, that’s a long time from now. No matter how many energy drinks you pop, water you drink or miles you run, ain’t nobody making it to that milestone in this life. Which, really begs a second question: who gets your love?

This is more than just another Christian telling you to hit your knees and do good works and that it will all work out in the end.

I’m telling you (begging you?) to start acting like one. Start forgiving people. Start recognizing the pain in other people’s stories that might look vastly different than your own. Start by sharing Jesus in your actions instead of shoving his teachings down people’s throats. Start by getting uncomfortable and serving those in need. Start by listening to people and recognizing that their perspective might be one you’ve never known. Start by praying for the people you most dislike (it helps if you actually mean it). Start by remembering that the judge of people’s hearts is not you. Start by finding ways in which you are alike with others instead of exploiting the ways in which you’re different.

And, most importantly, stop using your faith as a cover for your inability to recognize that you might be wrong. Isn’t it so much easier to tell someone else how they’re doing it wrong, than it is for you to admit you’ve got some heart work to do?

There it is. The crux of it all.

We have to start seeing people with our hearts, not our ballots. The path to Jesus isn’t found in a checkbox, it’s found in a lifetime of serving the Kingdom, sitting in the tension and practicing mercy.

That’s how we enter into life on November 4, with humility, empathy and probably a little less social media time.

We must remember that most, if not all, of us are fighting battles that have to nothing to do with a ballot box. Maybe it’s a tragic death, an ill-timed job loss, a life-threatening diagnosis, a struggling child, a marriage in crisis or simply the overwhelm of every day life. People need you, right now, to help them find Jesus.

When I hear people share the infamous “What would Jesus do?” quote, I cringe. I’m pretty sure Jesus’ ability to make good choices is exponentially higher than mine. God is God and I am not Him. Instead, let’s ask this: What is Jesus asking of me in this moment?

Sometimes He’s asking us to speak up, in love, with the truth. And then sometimes He’s asking us to shut our damn mouths, listen and leave the judgment for another day. I think there’s plenty of us judging and a lot less of us really loving. Really listening.

Let’s take that to heart, shall we? Find long periods of time to be off your device. Quit watching the 24-hour news cycle (not healthy), quit hitting refresh on your social media accounts (also not healthy) and quit villifying the other side (definitely not healthy). Connect with the real people standing smack dab in front of you. They’re probably carrying something you don’t even know and your kindness, your empathy and your love will make all the difference. Hell, take ’em to dinner or invite them over for a beer in your front yard. I can guarantee you’ll find ways to support and encourage one another, and perhaps shake some of those misconceptions you had about them. Make friends with people who think, act, live and look differently than you. Take it a step further and demand civility from the people in your life. Elevate the conversation. Remember people’s humanity.

You’ll be better for it.

On November 4, the news will try to tell us that the world is burning down, that Washington is a dumpser fire (they may not be wrong on that one) and that our country has no hope. And you know what I say to that?

Don’t believe the lie that we’ve lost our humanity, because we haven’t.

I see the beauty of the human spirit every day and it’s rarely on the national news. You may wake up on November 4 feeling joy or sorrow, but know this: we were not created to simply win an election day, rather we were created to live for eternity.

Maybe it’s worth asking again: who gets your love? Because I only know one man who hung on a cross to conquer death.

And his name isn’t on a ballot box.

19 Comments

  1. Claire on November 3, 2020 at 6:52 am

    Oh my gosh. I have subscribed to your blog for years, and you’ve written some amazing posts over the years. But this is by far the best post you’ve ever written, and the best blogpost I’ve seen on this subject (and I’ve seen some really good ones by Scott Hahn and Amy Wellborn). Thank you for putting into words what I’ve been thinking and feeling.

    • Kathryn on November 3, 2020 at 8:50 am

      That’s some HIGH praise. Thank you!

      • Claire on November 3, 2020 at 10:14 am

        Well deserved.

  2. Ann-Marie Ulczynski on November 3, 2020 at 7:04 am

    Beautifully said, as always. I think tomorrow is going to be a screen-free, read aloud, hot chocolate kind of day.

  3. Maureen on November 3, 2020 at 8:00 am

    Every word.

  4. Kim on November 3, 2020 at 8:15 am

    Thank you Kathryn. What I will be spending my time doing today is praying cause tomorrow my savior will still be the same one. Peace & Blessings!

  5. G “Lifeinowitz” on November 3, 2020 at 8:44 am

    This was obviously directed by the Holy Spirit as even Kathryn isn’t this good on her own (sorry 😉). My favorite line is [Start by praying for the people you most dislike (it helps if you actually mean it). ] Since Aug 11 – been carrying someone in anger -and I pray for person, as directed but its more that they get inspired to apologize vs my genuine will for the best life has to offer for them and to forgive without that condition, even though avoiding person is the safe way to be at same time. Oh the cross of Love – vertical is so much easier / – horizontal part is the difficult part! Thank you Kathryn for always being the sensible voice in room.

  6. Sarah on November 3, 2020 at 9:03 am

    Thank you!! Probably one of the only things I’ll read this week that gives me hope. Unplugging and focusing inward. Love to you

  7. Marisol on November 3, 2020 at 9:09 am

    I love sassy Kathryn! Thank you for sharing this. This election is a tough one. Your words are so right and I am glad to read this message. My heart still needs work and prayer. I am struggling with the fact that people can vote for people and/or support policies that could specifically hurt me or my family. People I care about will be directly impacted by the results. I know you said it’s not about the ballot but where do we draw the line between who and what a person supports and how that reflects on them? How do we enter into respectful relationship with somebody we feel may not respect us? I am open to any advice on how you got to the place where you are to write something so understanding and open minded. I am sure prayer is a big part. But it is so hard to let go of fear, concerns and hurt over some of the things said and done in this election. I don’t know why but 2020 feels different. My degree is in Government and I’ve never had such a hard time seperating facts and emotions as I have had this year. Thank you for challenging us to keep working and I would love to read a part 2 with even more advice.

    • Kathryn on November 3, 2020 at 2:39 pm

      I think we recognize that just because someone voted for a candidate doesn’t mean they didn’t hold their nose (hard) while doing it. So, what we assume they voted for, they’re really against. That comes through in dialogue and real work with one another. Taking time away from the virtual world and engaging with the real world has been so helpful for me. And, at the end of the day, some folks will always make assumptions that you can’t seem to dispel. I’m choosing to focus on the parts I can control, rather than worrying about those I can’t. It’s HARD *SS WORK.

  8. bridget on November 3, 2020 at 10:45 am

    “Sometimes He’s asking us to speak up, in love, with the truth. And then sometimes He’s asking us to shut our damn mouths, listen and leave the judgment for another day.”

    Yes, girl! Yes to all of this actually.

    • Debbie Allen on November 3, 2020 at 11:45 am

      WOW! THIS. IS. SO GOOD. I needed to hear this. I feel your words deep in my heart. Thank you for reminding me of my purpose here on earth. Love the people in front of you and pray for those you dislike…..perfect! Thank you so much Kathryn!

  9. Anna on November 3, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    Amen sister! Amen!

  10. Karen Rodgers on November 3, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    Kathryn,

    this is the article which every voter and every candidate needs to read,

    bless you,

    Karen in Cambridge, UK
    (praying for you all tonight)

  11. Charlotte Kolodzik on November 3, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    Amen! We need to get on with the business of life. There are dishes to wash, wounds to bandage, and joy to share. No matter who occupies a white house on a hill…my life’s work of being mother, sister, friend continues undetered by anything but pleasing God and healing the broken.

  12. Pam on November 3, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    Thank you for this reminder!!!!!

  13. Jessica on November 4, 2020 at 11:49 am

    This is amazing. One of the best pieces you’ve ever written. I needed to see this today and so does all of America! Thank you!

  14. Maggie on November 4, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    “We have this false narrative that our hope, and our future, lies in the balance of a politician’s hands.”

    Some people’s futures, their literal lives, do depend on a politician, unfortunately. It does matter who is in office, and therefore, it does matter who you vote for. It’s not the only thing that matter, but we can’t pretend that it doesn’t.

    • Kathryn on November 5, 2020 at 12:52 pm

      Maggie, I’d encourage you to re-read the post. I absolutely agree, and said, that we should take our votes to the kneeler before we take them to the polls. Our choices have real implications. Having said that, I know who cares about my soul in eternity and it isn’t a politician. Please don’t assume that I don’t have close friends and family members whose lives won’t be affected, negatively, no matter which way the race goes. And I won’t assume the same of you either. Blessings and thanks for being here!

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