Honoring the Cray-Cray: Thoughts on the 2016 Election

A recent New York Times article “revealed” that about half of all voters hold unfavorable views of both presidential candidates.  Six in ten republicans, democrats and independents all say they are not looking forward to the coming weeks of this election.

I didn’t need to read the New York Times to get a sense of the despair permeating our country, I just had to drive through my neighborhood.  

I haven’t seen one single “Vote for Hillary,” or “Trump” sign on my street.

Or on the adjoining streets.

Or in the neighborhood.

Not one.

Come to think of it, it’s not like they’re popping up all over Silicon Valley where I live and serve.  

This election is as the young people say, “Cray-Cray”.

So what are we to do?

In Peter’s first letter he stepped into the political fray and spoke very poignantly to the role of Christians when it comes to government.  Now I know Peter’s context is different.  He’s writing to Christians under a very authoritarian form of government, while we live in a democracy.  But I do believe the principles extend beyond forms.  

Honor:

Peter tells believer’s to “honor the emperor” (2:17).  Many scholars believe the specific emperor is Nero.  

Nero.  Now he was “Cray-Cray”.  He stabbed his mother to death.  Poisoned his aunt with a laxative.  Kicked one of his pregnant wives to death in the stomach.  Had a boy castrated, and married him.  And we haven’t got to the part of burning Rome down and blaming it on Christians followed by his persecution of them.

Honor...Nero?

Well, to be more specific, “Honor the emperor”.  

Notice Peter doesn’t mention a name, just a position.  Peter is saying that no matter how much we might dislike the person, we are to honor the position.  

Korie and I have friends who are trying to teach their young loquacious daughter to show honor.  So they came up with an idea.  If ever she felt like she was going to say something unkind or disrespectful, to simply cover her mouth.  Not long after that the mother and daughter were in a store, and the mother asked her to not do something.  Immediately the young girl placed her hands over her mouth.  Curious, the mother wanted to know why she did that.  The girl said because she was going to tell her to shut-up.  The mother took her hand and acted like she was going to smack her on the backside but stopped her hand with her other hand.  The daughter asked why she did that?  The mother said she was going to spank her!

Funny, but maybe something we Christians should consider.  No matter where you land in this election, both candidates have very glaring weaknesses.  To honor doesn’t mean we agree with everything, nor does it mean we don’t voice our opinions.  Thank God we live in a democracy that allows us to have a voice and a vote.  But to honor means we express our views, even our dissenting one’s with respect and kindness and love, even if the other is seen as being unworthy.

Let’s be careful to honor, even those we assume to be Cray-Cray.  

Bryan Loritts
Lead Pastor, Abundant Life
Author, Saving the Saved
President, Kainos Movement