Any election year comes with heightened emotions, but this year the emotions seem to be ratcheted up a notch ... or several notches. My concern is that when our emotions get intense, our willingness to examine ourselves and what we are emotional about tends to go out the window.
So, today, I want to propose several areas for self-examination. It does not matter what political party you belong to or which presidential candidate you support – these are points we should all consider to be sure that we are following the biblical injunction to “examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil” (I Thessalonians 5:21-22).
Examine your political party and preferred presidential candidate in the light of God’s Word. Where are they aligned with God’s Word? Where are they not? Just in case you suddenly felt defensive, I assure you that – since we live in a fallen world – ALL parties and ALL candidates fail the test of God’s Word in various respects. It is our responsibility to identify not only the good points of the party and candidate we support, but also the bad points.
Examine the nature of your allegiance to your political party or candidate. How deep do your emotions run? How intense is your commitment? Emotion and intensity can be good and used by God, or they can be evil and used for idolatry. I make no apologies for being blunt. If your allegiance to a political party or presidential candidate drives your thoughts, words, and actions rather than and contrary to God’s Word and God’s Spirit, you are worshipping and serving an idol.
Examine your willingness to hear the other side. Political polarization is dividing families, friends, communities, churches, and our nation. People can be so entrenched in their positions that they cannot even hear other perspectives, much less assess them rationally. If you are unwilling to hear others express differing views and unable engage in peaceful and open dialogue with them, there’s a problem.
Examine the sources of the information you listen to. Every news source has a bias. It is unavoidable, since news is reported by people and people have conscious and unconscious biases. These biases affect what they report on, how they report on things, the words they use, the conclusions they draw, and all the rest of it. What is the bias of the news sources you listen to? Consider listening to other news sources to see how they report on the same topic. If there are discrepancies, weigh them carefully. The same principles apply to other sources of information, such as social media, authors, speakers, teachers, preachers, and friends. Take nothing for granted, but examine everything. Seek to gain as complete and accurate a picture as possible of what is happening in the country and in the world.
For more on how to “examine everything carefully,” download the free Bible study “Good vs. Evil: The Discipline of Discernment” at https://www.prismaticjoy.com/books.