Trillia Newbell: Being salt and light

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, July 1st. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Well, another political campaign season is upon us and, of course, that means potential for disagreement. Not much you can do about that. But here’s what you can do: you can, we can, control how we handle political disagreement.

Here’s WORLD Radio commentator Trillia Newbell.

TRILLIA NEWBELL, COMMENTATOR: Last week the first presidential debates put the race to the White House in full swing. Twenty Democratic presidential hopefuls took the stage—each one trying to stand out in a crowded field. 

Before I go any further, I must confess: I didn’t watch either of the debates. It’s not that I wasn’t interested; the call of the summer night and the sound of my kids’ laughter simply took me to other things. But I wasn’t completely unaware. 

I’m aware that this is the beginning of boxing season. Each side will begin to take aim at the other. The gloves will come off and the punches will still fly. My question to Christians is: Must we also get in the ring? 

Our political climate has produced rampant fear, anxiety, and a great deal of tension. I am certain we will experience the effects for years to come. And I’m particularly concerned about the damage to dear relationships. 

Two years from now, will we see even greater carnage from the battle of political ideologies among brothers and sisters in Christ? Will we become enemies? Can we can disagree and still continue to love one another?

There are times when close, God-fearing friends do part ways. The story of Paul and Barnabas is an example. After Saul’s conversion, he attempted to join the disciples. But they still didn’t trust him—so they distanced themselves (Acts. 9:26). 

Barnabas, on the other hand, took him in. He testified about Paul’s fearless preaching in the name of Jesus (Acts 9:27). 

Barnabas and Paul began to minister together. They were friends, close friends. But, eventually, the two disagreed and parted ways (Acts 15:36-41).

Friends parting ways is not uncommon and may indeed be justified in certain situations. There is wisdom in evaluating our friendships. 

But I wonder if more often our actions are selfish and self-righteous. Are we ready to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things (1 Cor. 13:7) this election season? 

When we open our internet browsers and see something we disagree with on social media—are we going to assume the absolute worst about our brother or sister? What are we going to do when we learn that our friend voted for someone we strongly oppose? 

Whoever is elected won’t care a wit about our local churches, our organizations, and our neighbors and whether or not they have been damaged. They won’t even know. We will be the ones left to clean up the mess. We will have to stand once again with one another. 

We already know this election season will divide our culture. The church can reveal something different—and that’s the unifying power of the gospel. 

This will take the power of God and His Spirit. He can give us the wisdom and strength to be faithful to one another… to choose love over hatred and to choose forgiveness over anger. And I pray He will.  

For WORLD Radio, I’m Trillia Newbell.

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) Democratic presidential candidates wave as they enter the stage for the second night of the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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