Look around. It’s obvious. We are not a Christian nation.
Today’s inauguration of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States marks one of the most divisive seasons in our history. Beyond politics, race riots endanger our streets, gun violence threatens our children, addiction and overdoses are destroying families and entire communities.
Nope, we’re not a Christian nation.
Because there’s no such thing as a Christian nation.
Christ’s first followers hoped for and expected His rule to be political, yet Jesus didn’t command His followers to start a Christian nation. We do need people in power who follow God’s heart, we do have a heritage of Godfearing men who sought Biblical wisdom. Yet this is not our only calling, nor will it be our cure.
We don’t need a Christian nation, we need a nation of Christians.
There is a cure for what ails us, and it is a command of Christ: be a godly neighbor.
Our calling as Christians goes far beyond politics. When our political future feels uncertain or overwhelming, it’s empowering to know that each of us has an opportunity every single day to bring the kingdom of God to our communities by being a godly neighbor.
I can’t change laws. I can’t change lawmakers. But I can live by God’s laws in my own neighborhood.
Godly neighbors refuse to participate in the mudslinging and name calling that characterize modern political debate. Godly neighbors can listen to opposing views and ask thoughtful questions. Godly neighbors look past our differences and find what we have in common. Godly neighbors stick their necks out and get involved in sticky situations. Godly neighbors serve wholeheartedly and love deeply.
Godly neighbors know your name, share your pain, and celebrate your joy.
You may have voted with enthusiasm and pride, or you may have voted like I did—with tears in my eyes and a shaking hand. Regardless of our bumper stickers and dearly-held ideologies, the implications of today’s inauguration go far beyond a four-year term. The stakes in our neighborhoods are eternal.
If you’re watching today’s ceremonies and commentaries with disgust and fear, take hope. If you’re watching with excitement and pride, take heart.