As I was meditating this morning, thoughts came to me concerning further helpful ways to cope with this election.
Grieve the losses
Grief is a process given to us to help us navigate loss. Today we are more insulated from grief and the associated natural process of recovery because death is much less with us, thankfully, than in previous generations. But there are times, like now, that we need to understand grief better. We also need to know that we grieve for all types of losses, including the kinds associated with this election. For example; there is no doubt as evidenced by the news every day that there’s been a loss in respect for minorities among some because of the election. Also, the principle of respect for women has suffered a loss by the elevation of one who has disrespected women. How do we react? Feelings of denial, sadness, anger (both focused and projected), and second-guessing ourselves and others are normal parts of grieving. Learning to handle our grief in healthy ways is part of the human experience.
Look for the balanced perspective
For those on the Democratic side, remember that anytime a candidate wins the popular vote while losing the Electoral College, it is a sign that the election was very close. Any time a candidate wins as strongly among younger people as Clinton did, it is a strong sign for future elections. Democrats have some things to feel good about too. For Republicans, to gloat is arrogant and counter-productive. A strong majority of urban Americans voted against you and they live in the most influential centers of the country. The Bible urges humility. Humility is a lost virtue today and suffered further loss in this election. But humility helps immensely in human relations. Unfortunately, on-screen it is usually wrongly mistaken for weakness. I would caution us to look for the balanced perspective in our circumstances.
Do not return evil for evil
One of the Bible’s most famous sayings is, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil” (Rom 12:17). Just because the election featured rude, crude, and obnoxious conversation, is no excuse for us to join that party. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:21). While Hillary Clinton’s embrace of the “nasty woman” epithet may have been a shrewd debate move, “nasty” is not exactly a winsome characteristic. But kindness is. Donald Trump’s past behavior and attitudes are a problem, not something to be emulated. But if we copy the worst elements of leaders, we magnify the difficulties. If we repay evil for evil we become part of the problem, not part of the healing solution. Instead, “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness” (1 Tim. 6:11).
Be thankful for what is good
I, for one, am very glad that Thanksgiving follows this election. It will be very healthy for us all if we can get our minds off the divisions and contentious issues of the election and step back and be genuinely thankful for the blessings that we have. It will lessen our stress, it will lower our collective blood pressure, and will help us to have a better emotional and mental foundation for the cooperation in daily life and in government that the people of this land desire and deserve.
All Scriptures from Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2001 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved.