I’m Finally Breaking My Political Silence

Well, it’s over. I have exercised my right and my privilege to cast my ballot for the next President of the United States, as well as those running for state and local offices. But truthfully, as I stepped away from the poll, I was left with an ugly feeling.

As I walked back to my car, amid those campaigning for each party, I couldn’t help but feel divided. In a country that claims the word “United” in its title, I feel like we have missed the mark.

For the past twelve months, political rhetoric has consumed our airwaves and in an unprecedented display of emotion, we have proudly voiced our opinion despite the swath of destruction in our wake. We’ve exchanged harsh words, burned bridges, and destroyed friendships all in the name of this “freedom” to vote and our “right” to speak freely, which makes me wonder if we really counted the cost.

A government by the people and for the people is something I don’t think we, as Americans, really understand—a blessing that we have long taken for granted and made into some kind of twisted reality show or barbaric sporting event that feeds our own agenda and desire to be entertained rather than the common good of a united people.

And in less than 96 hours I wonder if this entire ugly process will have been worth it?

Winners and Losers

On Tuesday, someone will be declared a winner and someone will be declared a loser. But I’m afraid we’ve been duped into believing that we live in a world where winners and losers are determined by competition, popularity, and position when in reality, winners and losers are much more difficult to quantify. Regardless of who wins on Tuesday, we lost this election, America.

And here’s why:

Are you prepared to welcome, with joy, Donald Trump as the next President of the United States?

Are you prepared to welcome, with joy, Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States?

It’s statistically likely that half of you will cringe at one of those two questions—possibly both—and that saddens me. Not because of either of those two individuals, but because we, as a people, have misplaced our hope. We choose fear and call it wisdom, we live in a constant state of unrest yet expect peace, and we think better legislation will somehow make our lives better.

Our inability to joyfully engage in this process proves that we’ve given our hearts to lesser things than they were intended for, and in turn, our hearts have begun to shrink to the size our own agenda. As a result, our joy has become circumstantial, fear has become a staple, and peace is, at best, fleeting.

In winning, we have ultimately lost.

Rekindling Our Joy and Redirecting Our Hope

Now lest you think I’ve grown hopeless and despondent, think again. Truthfully, I’m left challenged and encouraged.

Why?

Because sometimes it takes the pain of losing to force us to that point to see clearly. In losing, we’re finally broken enough to pay attention. As paradoxical as it might seem, humility has a dynamic way of changing our perspective. And it’s only when we’re willing to shift our perspective that we’re able to uncover truth.

The Apostle Paul, one of the most prolific authors in history, said that we should, “Be joyful always”. Curiously, there were no caveats or qualifiers to his words. He really intended for his readers to believe his encouragement and actually put it into practice by how they lived.

And while so many of us, especially the evangelical type, can quote those words, we’ve forgotten how to live them. Honestly, that’s why the offer of Christianity seems uninviting to those who stand on the sidelines and stare at our joyless faces as politics have become our sort-of faux savior.

A few months back, when I made the comment that I was done with politics, I came to that decision specifically because I wasn’t choosing joy. In order for me to grow beyond that raw emotion, I had to become honest with myself about the gap between my convictions and how I was actually living.

If this election has done anything for me, it has truly caused me to take an assessment of my heart, where I place my hope, and where I find my joy. My encouragement to you is that you would do the same.

Regardless of who wins the election on Tuesday, please know that there’s no wisdom in fear, there’s no love in hate, and there’s no peace in unrest. Period. Your joy shouldn’t be based on the outcome of the events, but in the moment itself—simply because it’s there for you to choose. That’s the beautiful thing about joy, it’s yours—if you choose it.

In doing so, you’ll become a welcome invitation for others who are grasping at the air, longing for hope, yet unable to find it in the failed promises of a Presidential candidate or government policies.

In losing, may we learn how to win.

MH

 

About the Author

Matt Ham is the co-founder of YouPrint along with Zondervan author, Kevin Adams. YouPrint is an entrepreneurial, kingdom-minded, social enterprise whose mission is to help people uncover their why, thrive in their gifts, and live the life of impact they were created for.

Learn more about the Blueprints for Life Teaching series by clicking here.

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  • Laurie Miner Dhonau

    I have to say that I disagree with your premise that no matter who wins on Tuesday, we lost, Matt. About a year ago, I decided that I could support neither of the two major party candidates. Like you, I saw people who were happy to sow discord and dissension in order to reap votes and political power, and so I chose not to participate. Scripture tells us to not simply avoid evil, but to run from it, and that is exactly what I chose to do. Running from political parties and candidates who told me I had no choice but to choose them, I turned to the Lord, and chose Him and His ways instead. For months, people asked me whom I was going to vote for and I honestly said, I didn’t know. And then, in August Evan McMullin announced his candidacy for the office of president. I researched him and what I learned made me believe him to be a man of integrity who puts the welfare of all of the citizens of this country ahead of his own political ambitions. In coming to know the people associated with his campaign, I have found Americans who still believe in the ideals upon which this country was founded and are actively encouraging others to do the same. People of different faiths who have come together for one reason: they still believe in one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

    Words can’t express the hope and joy I have experienced in the past few months, working with a group of people who have been more focused on the issues we face as a nation than on leveling personal attacks and cultivating division. I have no idea what will happen on election day; that’s completely in the Lord’s very competent hands. But I know that when the campaigning is done, there are people in this nation who are ready to move forward and help restore this nation. I know they are people who place their hope and trust in neither charismatic leaders nor Big Government, but in a Creator Who loves His children and was willing to sacrifice His Only Son that they might live. No matter who wins on Tuesday, we win, Matt. Because in the end, the only leader who really matters is the One Who sits on Heaven’s throne.

    • Laurie, thanks again for the thoughts.

      I think the point i was trying to make has been proven in the continued fallout since the election. America is losing in many ways.

      But the beautiful truth and hope we have is that the church has an opportunity to really show itself for who it has been called to be. I stand with you in that endeavor–to make Him known.

  • Robert Griffiths

    Welcome to the fold, Matt! Our joy is not of things political, because our hope is in things eternal. Although I’ve been a Christian less than 5 years, I have discovered that this country left its Judeo-Christian roots long ago, and we are exiles living in Babylon. And that helps me to understand what we must do as pilgrims in a strange land. We must promote the welfare of the cities we live in, because through that, our welfare will be prospered. Regardless of who wins this election, God is still directing the hearts of kings and rulers, and nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s universe on accident. If we can maintain an eternal perspective, then the choice is easy… Choose Joy every time!

    • Thanks for the perspective, Robert. Keep pressing into the Lord, brother.

  • Tami Maloney

    I was able to vote early and it was the most pleasurable, fulfilling, hopeful vote I’ve ever cast! The RNC and DNC failed to provide candidates that represented me. I had no candidate in this race for President of the Representative Republic in which we live. I’ve never voted 3rd party in all my decades as a registered voter, but this was where I was looking when the RNC and DNC pushed me aside.

    The ONLY 3rd party candidate that represents me is Evan McMullin. I realize that I cannot change Washington while still playing Washington’s game, so I chose to vote for the Independent candidate, Evan McMullin. Clinton and Trump never had my vote.

  • Rebecca Spiers Irvine

    I also supported Evan McMullin and was able to avoid that awful taste in my mouth. When I saw my first interview with McMullin back in early October I had a huge feeling of relief–finally a conservative candidate who treats people with respect and has character! I am sorry you were not able to find a candidate who did the same for you.

    • Thanks for the comment, Rebecca. I didn’t have an ugly feeling because of who I voted for, in fact, I had a lot of peace about that. My thoughts and feelings were aimed more at how this entire process has caused everyone to misplace their hope.

      And another challenging thought I’ve had in the aftermath is that so many of us have sought relief (temporary) when we should really seek peace (permanent). Again, just challenging myself with these thoughts.

      Thanks for being here.

  • David Domzalski

    I think this line nails it — “That’s the beautiful thing about joy, it’s yours—if you choose it.” I know I struggle with remembering that joy is a choice. In the “heat of the moment”, I’ll say things that I know aren’t Christian. I let politics (or whatever it is I feel compelled to defend) get in the way of true Christian fellowship. Sometimes deliberately. Sometimes accidently. I appreciate your words though, Matt. You’re always a voice of faith, hope, and reason. God bless.

    http://DavidTheRunner.com

    • Thanks, David. I appreciate you being here brother and hope to keep spurring one another along.

      • DavidDomzalski

        No problem, Matt. Always enjoy your perspective.

  • Fay Marmalich-Vietmeier

    Thank you Matt for your thought-full words…I love what you wrote:
    “We do give our hearts to lesser things than they were intended for, and in turn, our hearts shrink to the size our own agenda”
    This is “self-leaning” …a precarious posture at best…

    Heart assessment is required: “where I place my hope, and where I find my joy”
    Regardless of who won the election …”there’s no wisdom in fear, there’s no love in hate, and there’s no peace in unrest”
    ~Humility receives
    ~Arrogance rejects

    • Thanks for confirming those thoughts, Fay.

      I believe that if we’re willing to pause and humbly submit ourselves before God, He will not only grant us peace, but exalt us as well.