Keep in mind…
- They are likely taking in information and simply trying to process it all.
- Expect what they say to be very simplistic and repeating what they’ve heard.
- Expect their tone to echo the broader culture right now.
- Is not to advocate for a certain political viewpoint.
- Is to help them understand what following Jesus means for how they interact and respond to other people with whom they may disagree, especially other Christians. Whatever other identities we may claim—Jew, Gentile, male, female, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal—we must remember that “all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal. 3:27) “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view”—in other words, through worldly categories like Republican or Democrat—because God has “reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:16-18).
- Jesus is the true King we proclaim! He says “All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me.” And he gives us a mission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-19)
- Their identity is in Christ, not in a political party or stance. Christians sometimes disagree about political matters, and that’s okay. But we must remember that what unites us is Jesus, not having the same views on everything. “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph. 4:3-6)
- Name-calling or ridicule toward those who hold other views is never appropriate. Though politicians may throw manners and civility out the window, Christians don’t! Our words can get us into a lot of trouble! James tells us that “the tongue is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body” (James 3:6). That’s why he also says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19) Proverbs also reminds us that “sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.” (Proverbs 10:19).
- That while they may be fearful about what may happen, we can trust that God is with us no matter what happens. Jesus says, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20). “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).
- That while there may be a lot of disagreement, even hate, toward people on the other side of the political aisle, Christians are called to love not only our brothers and sister, but even our enemies. We are called to be children of our Heavenly Father, who “causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:45-48). We are called to walk by the Spirit, and “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying one another” (Gal. 5:22-26).
Some stock phrases…
- “It’s easy to get upset with people who disagree with us. But the Bible tells us that we should show love and patience and kindness in our words. So even if you disagree with someone, how do you think you could say it in a way that shows love, patience, and kindness? Or is it really something that you need to say at all?”
- “I understand that you might be worried about what the future holds. But Jesus tells us that he is the true King and that he is with us always. So while we don’t know what the future holds, we know Jesus is walking with us.”
- “Remember that our hope is in Jesus. We might be happy about who’s President or get upset about who’s President. But Presidents come and go. Jesus is always on the throne.”
- “What makes us Christians? Is it because we all agree on politics, on favorite movies, or sports, or which jobs to have, or even on every point of theology? No! We’re Christians because Jesus has called us to be part of his family. Does everyone in your family agree about everything all the time? Of course not! But we’re still family.”
- “That’s ridiculous.” (Because sometimes, it’s the most appropriate thing to say to kids.)