“Not so with you.” Those four words occur in the New Testament as a rejoinder to the people of God that we are not supposed to think, speak, or act in ways routinely accepted by our culture, but offensive to God. We are to stand up for Christ and stand out as followers of Christ’s ways of thinking, speaking, and acting.
Unfortunately, the campaign season and election we just endured brought out the worst in too many Christians. Sidewalk conversations, emails, tweets, and Facebook posts were peppered with ways of thinking and speaking that are acceptable in our culture but not to God. Co-workers, neighbors, friends, and family members divided up turf, drew lines in the sand, and acted as if God’s very "Godness" was dependent on the outcome of the election. Others conveyed the mistaken notion (and poor theological position) that America is God’s chosen, the new Israel, and that our country can only be great if led by a person who agrees with every jot and tittle of a particular (and often narrow) doctrinal system. Much of that, to the shame of all Christians, emanated from pulpits around this country. Not so with you!
We are, without doubt, living in a red and blue nation. Some are elated with the outcome while others are forlorn. Our state, county, town, neighborhoods, and in some cases even our families are also red and blue. But God’s rule cannot be defined by red or blue. God still wears a cloak of royal purple. God’s blessing or withholding of blessing from a people does not depend on which political party is in charge. God, throughout history, has raised up and destroyed rulers and nations according to his good pleasure and sovereign design. Yet, some Christians have spoken and acted in ways that indicate God can only get good work done through one ideological worldview or the other. Not so with you.
I understand and respect that we have real, well reasoned, and philosophically divergent opinions about what policies are best for our future. But there is a vast difference between standing pat for values and defaming another person’s character because she disagrees with us. We see and hear that happening nearly every day in our society. We expect ugly, partisan rants from left or right leaning talking heads, but “not so with you.”
Governor Romney gave a gentlemanly, sincere, diplomatic, and gracious concession speech. Yet, many people are continuing to write and speak in ways intended to rub loss or reproach in the face of fellow citizens. It is a very ego centric and careless way of acting. The not so subtle racism and ethnic elitism that underlies many of the comments is especially disheartening. Not so with you.
We need to acknowledge that all of us love our nation and all of us are passionate about maintaining her greatness. We all want a better world for our children and grandchildren. Nonetheless, conservatives and liberals each accuse the other of hating and destroying our nation. Really? Not so with you!
Again, I appreciated Romney’s tone, and particularly these lines:
We look to our pastors and priests and rabbis and counselors of all kinds to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built: honesty, charity, integrity and family.
I aim to answer the call. Further, I intend to respect and conscientiously pray for our President and other elected leaders (even when I differ with their ideas). I plan to build better relations and dialogue with people who think differently than I do. I purpose to treat all my neighbors in this country with respect and charity. I will earnestly attempt to convey God’s kind of grace to those who will not return respect or charity. I hope it will be SO with YOU all.