The Christian and Post-Election Blues
November 1, 2020 Blogs by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

It is Friday, October 30, 2020; in four days, the United States will elect its next president, and I, like the rest of the nation, don’t know who is going to win.

I am writing this blog before the election to post on Thursday, November 5, two days after the election, because I suspect that no matter which candidate wins, a large number of people will be upset, distraught, and perhaps angry or afraid. It has been reported that more than 20 percent of Biden supporters will protest if he loses and that 16 percent of Trump supporters will protest if he loses.

But should we, as Christians, be distressed by the outcome of national elections? Should those who know Jesus as their Savior get caught up in state politics?

Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21 NIV84).

Have we Christians tied our hearts to our nations, or political parties, or charismatic leaders rather than to Jesus?

Have the results of this election upset you, made you emotionally uncomfortable, fearful, and insecure? If so, then from where are you deriving your security? Where are you placing your trust, faith, and confidence? Is it in the Lord—or is it in the power structures of this world?

Remember when God instructed King David not to take a census of Israel? Wouldn’t good leadership require a ruler to be aware of how many horses, chariots, and soldiers in the military so the administration could procure proper supplies? Yet, God did not want David to do this; why? Because David would have been tempted to believe that his strength was in his spearmen, infantry, bowmen, and cavalry and forget that his true strength had always been in God.

How many of us are tempted to place our sense of peace, wellbeing, safety, and security in our savings, stocks, lands, or earthly governments, political parties, or politicians?

The psalmist knew his help didn’t come from the earth, from the hills where pagans worshipped, or from the power structures of this world, but from God:

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1, 2 NIV84).

Throughout human history, God’s people have been distinct from those who love the methods of this world. The people of God have never found their home, their land, or their country here. They have always longed for a better land, a land without the kingdoms and coercive methods of this world. The writer of Hebrews, after reviewing a long list of God’s faithful people, wrote:

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:13–16 NIV84).

Because these faithful of God were not tied to any nation of this world, because their hearts where not aligned with the practices of this world, because they longed for the kingdom of heaven—the kingdom of love, truth, and freedom—God is not ashamed to be their God and prepare them an eternal home, a sinless perfect home.

What about you? Are you seeking to establish God’s kingdom here on this earth through human governments, with earthly sinful methods, by getting the right person elected, the right judges appointed, the right laws passed? Is your heart longing to use the power of the state or the power of the mob to force society to conform to your moral view? Or are you like the faithful of God throughout history, in the world but not of it, an alien here, one who recognizes that God’s government does not operate upon imposed rules, on power over others, on intimidation? God’s government doesn’t coerce or force its way; God wins hearts with truth and love, while always leaving people free to decide for themselves.

We must understand that:

  • All imposed laws (rules that require external enforcement) are part of the kingdoms of this world.
  • All design laws (protocols upon which reality operates) are part of God’s kingdom.
  • The goal of the kingdoms of this world is to control behavior, ultimately through coercion (which God permits to limit chaos and restrain the wicked, see Romans 13, but this does not represent God’s methods or government).
  • The goal of the kingdom of God is healing hearts and minds through the application of truth and love. And this can never be achieved through imposed rules and threats of punishment.

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36 NIV84).

Are you tempted in the aftermath of the election to fight? Are you tempted to protest, to shout down others, to intimidate, to coerce, to force a different outcome? Then where is your heart’s loyalty? Which kingdom do you prefer? Is this world and its beastly methods of power over others, of force and coercion, your kingdom? Or are you a part of that kingdom from another place?

The aftermath of this election is the perfect time to ask ourselves: From where does our peace, sense of safety, and security come? Where do we place our faith?

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV84).

Wouldn’t this include the outcome of this election? Do you believe that events on earth are unfolding in accordance with God’s plan to bring about an eternal end to sin?

Jesus warned His disciples that things on this earth would become distressing as the end nears:

On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. [We don’t hear any distress over global warming and rising sea levels, do we?] Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:25–28 NIV84).

What is to be our response when the nations are in anguish, when nature seems to be unstable, when people are fainting from fear of what is coming upon the world? Are we to riot, protest, and take control of earthly governments to force our way in an attempt to make ourselves feel safe?

Or are we to hear the call of the three angels of Revelation 14—the final message of mercy from God to lighten the world for Jesus’ return—and lift up our heads; to worship our Creator who made the heavens, earth, sea, and fountains of water; to come out of Babylon, that beastly system of earthly governments that uses imposed law to coerce others; and to realize that Jesus our Savior is coming soon?

The question today is: Where is your heart’s affection, your faith, trust, and confidence? In the nations of this world? Or in Jesus, the One who loves you, died to save you, and is coming back to take you home—to His perfect, sinless eternal home?

I implore you to trust Jesus, and then you’ll have nothing to fear no matter who won the election.

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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.
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