I know. It’s election season in the United States. And people express the opinion that people like me should have an answer to a very simple question: “How will you vote?”
There are hundreds of posts on every side of the Christian divides saying how we must vote. And those of us who are on Facebook read one opinion or another and get upset.
I was thinking about this level of upsetness the other morning and remembered a phrase. “If you see your brother in need.” I started playing with it.
“If you see your brother in need and you would probably do something, but you are lamenting the truth and lies about the candidates and the process, Jesus says…”
But I couldn’t remember how it ended. Or even how it started.
I needed to find it. Because I have this tension in my heart. It’s a fear that I am missing the real issue, that I’m somehow not seeing the thing that I should be doing or saying during this season. After all, my degrees are in rhetoric, rooted in the analysis of persuasion. In the old days of my life, campaigns were a delight, analyzing the ads, critiquing the commentaries, deconstructing the debates. But I don’t seem to have the energy for that work now.
So I went looking for the source of “if you see your brother in need” to see if I could find out what was eating at me.
I found the source of the phrase in 1 John. John, follower of Jesus, protector of Mary, pastor of pastors, victim of both Romans and countrymen.
He writes, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
During this season and all seasons, John calls me to offer the material support of those in need, and to do it with compassion. Before I condemn your position or you for holding your position, I need you to be able to read this text in my life. Before I waste my energy in worry and count it as sufficient excuse for not laying down my energy – my life – for you, I need you to be able to read this love in my life. And at the moment, I’m not satisfied with what you see.
I know. That doesn’t answer your question. But did you really think I would?
Peace be with you.