By Corine Gatti-Santillo

We are divided as a country over politics. The war alienating Conservatives and Democrats moves to an unhealthy rhythm of hatred. The media plays us against each other. Our politicians play us against each other. 

If we’re honest — we fan the flames of contention, not from a biblical foundation.

Admittedly, I’m offended when it comes to abortion, illegal immigration, the assault on religious freedom and freedom of speech. I feel marginalized because I’m a Christian, and I can’t object to an unpopular topic without being designated a bigot. 

This couldn’t be further from reality.

I was a Democrat most of my life and watched the other side.  I’ve seen how Washington plays us like a fiddle for votes. I just became wiser and as a Christian, my values shifted.

I know believers who argue that a border wall is morally wrong and keeping illegal immigrants out of our country is against the fabric of our nation. 

A friend challenged me on this point, “Well, how can you be a Christian and love Christ if you’re against immigration?”

“Hold up, girl. I said illegal immigrants, not immigrants. They need to go through the due process like so many do to live in America.”

I didn’t yell, I saw her love for people and explained there is more to this story. Children are being trafficked into America from Mexico without parents; numerous criminals are emptying across our borders, while innocent children are caught in the middle.  I also asserted that I don’t lump all people coming over the border as criminals. 

The next thing I knew, we stopped speaking to each other, and they announced on social media that anybody who supports a Republican us a racist. The Democrats wanted a border wall before this was a debate. As a side note, it was the Democratic Party which was prominently governed by the slave-holding South. After the Civil War, most white Southerners opposed the Republican Party’s support of civil and political rights. The Democratic Party was deemed the “white man’s party.” The Left forgets this horrid history. 

There is prejudice no matter where you go today– way before President Trump came into office. I could’ve continued to argue with this person, but there was a check in my spirit to shut it down.

Many people and families are being divided by politics.  We don’t live in a world where you can agree to disagree. We can’t be unified if we’re screaming over each other.  

The lack of grace during political discourse assuredly has disappeared.

How can we be kind, honest and strong in our biblically based beliefs?  Here are six suggestions on being respectable and standing your ground during precarious political times.

  1. We need more grace towards others, even those who ridicule our political and religious views. The Hebrew word “chesed” (pronounced kheh-sed) is having kindness or love between people. When God sent Jesus to die for our sins, we didn’t warrant His love. Yet, His grace was extended towards all men (the unlovely ones as well). 

There are injustices in the world. We can be angry about this. We can likewise have chesed to show compassion towards others during times of political discourse. I tried this with my friend whom I mentioned was irritated with me about illegal immigration. We are still talking today and refuse to talk politics. 

  1. Try praying and reading the Bible for about 10 to15 minutes in the morning. It appears rudimentary, but we need to immerse ourselves in the Word. This will help you remain armed when an argument starts to brew. When we are in the thick of it, our consciousness will revert to the Word we examined. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:26: “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil.” 
  2. I got to the point where I needed to address the atrocities going on in this country.  A late-term abortion bill was proposed in Virginia in January that is completely ludicrous. The bill would allow abortion up until the moment of childbirth. If this wasn’t enough, it was the remarks by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a former pediatric neurologist, that bewildered many in the Commonwealth.

“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen,” says Northam. “The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother. We want the government not to be involved in these types of decisions, we want the decision to be made by the mothers and their providers.”

There’s more. Look at the repulsive #ShoutYourAbortion social media campaign used to normalize the killing of unwanted babies that launched in 2015. SYA claims “Abortion is normal. Our stories are ours to tell. This is not a debate.” If it’s not SYA partying over abortions, it’s the celebration of late-term abortions by American politicians.

I had to watch my anger as it was consuming me, so I started to host my own news show to fight back. However, I’m reminded of how Jesus says to be slow to anger. I needed to center myself in His Words.  Doing this is a way to help curb the temper and will help with you going on social media to start wars. Don’t get me wrong, I voiced my consternation and called out political leaders for this repugnant bill. If you want to capture a city and change the world Proverbs 16:32 offers steadfast advice: 

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.”

We need to control our anger or people will manage it for us. We can get our point across without the vitriol and exhibit grace. 

  1. Sometimes you need to walk away. Recognize in some circumstances that you need to step away from political and egregious conversations. Psalm 101:4-5 4 shares: “The perverse of heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with what is evil. Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate.”  This Scripture will assist you in becoming more cognizant and you will know when to walk away from conflict. Sometimes it’s not worth debating someone who doesn’t even want a discussion — they just want to fight. Discharge yourself from the discussion or change the subject and tell them going on like this won’t resolve anything. This is not a sign of deficiency, quite the opposite. It’s the Word that needs to be the sword, not always loose lips.
  2. So many people are still disconcerted about President Donald Trump’s election — they remain resentful and vociferous. He’s not perfect, no one is. We all have frailties and our leaders need prayer. President Trump is no exception to this. We need to collectively find what we can do together within our biblical boundaries. As Christians, we need to watch our mouths and be the salt of the earth. Too many Christians are dishing out discourtesies like non-believers and many are falling for the trap. Just read a political article and scroll to the comment section! Colossians 4:6 tells us. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
  3. Finally, we need to pray. 1 Timothy 2:1-2, 8 says,

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness…Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.” Pray for the people you’re having discussions with on the issues of today. Pray for your heart to be guarded and yet, soft as you represent Jesus. You never know what God can do through a willing and humble heart. 

God remains the authority during antagonistic times. Being a Christian was never meant to be comfortable and if it takes listening more, keeping calm and not speaking, so be it.  We are the salt of the earth, and we can speak the truth during political upheaval while maintaining decorum.