The Election is Over. What should Americans do now?

Election season has never felt quite so divisive as it did this year. The entire country is so desperately polarized. The despair and anger and vitriol are palpable. Our country is at tremendous risk of destruction from within.

What should Americans do now?

If you are a reasonable, intelligent American, I’m talking with you; I’m walking with you. We need to act like we are reasonable and intelligent more now than ever.

I’m not seeing very many reasonable, intelligent responses following the election.

As Christians, we faced an impossible decision. As Americans, we faced a truly painful one. But we GET to choose how we act today.

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Maybe, today we can stop focusing on the figureheads and start focusing on the issues.

The election might be over, but the work has just started.

America needs Conflict Resolution 101.

We are looking at the same picture, but seeing a totally different image. But really, we’re both looking at the same America, so the disconnect is our own perspective, biases, and opinions.

The election's over. What should Americans do now? America needs Conflict Resolution 101 Click To Tweet

Find common ground.

We all want America to be the great nation we believe she used to be. Even if we disagree on how, we should be able to agree on some core ideas.

We all want a safe country in which every citizen has the means and ability to provide for his/her family, a nation in which every person’s rights are equal under the law, with a strong economy and opportunity for all different types of people.

But how do we get there from here?

Debate ideas, not each other.

We might disagree on the details, but we have to start with seeing the humanity in each of us. Click To Tweet

Be more respectful and kind than expected. No one can hear your ideas over your shouting.

Philippians 2:3 ESV Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

When we count others more significantly than ourselves, we seek to understand, not wound.

Healing from this election starts with listening.

Conflict resolution teaches we have to understand the other side before we can resolve the conflict.

Listen to the heart of your opposition. What are they really saying?

Research both sides of an issue – go back to debate club basics and be able to really see both sides. When we do that, we often realize we’re not so far apart.

Today, I had a conversation with an LGBT woman who was angry, but as we exchanged opinions I heard her fear. She’s afraid for her marriage and her family. She is afraid of being mistreated.

As a Christian woman in an increasingly unChristian society, I understand that fear. How can I respond in a way that demonstrates I love her even if we disagree on specific policies?

Refuse to take the bait.

This one is personally challenging. And I’m not good at ignoring the need to correct or comment. But I’m learning.

If I can’t speak in love or within a relationship with someone, I may do more harm than good, if I speak at all.

Doesn't matter which side you're on, when you wound with your words, America can never heal. Click To Tweet

Anger and arguing often comes from a place of fear.

We Christians need to be examples of how not to let fear dictate our actions. We have an eternal promise. We’re not demonstrating our trust in our Heavenly Father if we are reacting in fear.

Matthew 6:34 ESV  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Today, nothing has changed. Let’s not borrow trouble. Decisions and change take time. Hopefully, such a close election and balanced legislature will hopefully, bring great discussion and compromise.

And we LOVE.

John 15:12 ESV  “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

They will know we are Christians by our love, not our political affiliations, not our bumper stickers or ballots.

We let humility and grace be our watchwords going forward. We seek solutions to problems, not for people.

We are all Americans. Let’s start there.

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