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The recent U.S. election has brought out the worst in people, as far as words are concerned. From the top of the ticket to the everyday blogger and Facebook user, many failed to show respect and kindness. People were painted as the enemy, and that seemed to make them fair game.

God’s Word once again proves to be true:

“. . . the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell” (James 3:5-6 ESV).

A great forest has been set on fire by reckless and irresponsible words, and we now see the consequences. Many who did not vote for President-Elect Trump are fearful of what our country will look like in the future, and minorities across the country are hearing hateful speech in their neighborhoods, schools, and gathering places. Friends on Facebook have defriended and derided one other. Christians have spoken ill of one another over their voting choices.

The church must lead the way to healing. We white Christians, no matter how we voted, have a responsibility to reach out to those who are now fearful of racial hatred, deportations that most often break up families, and increased violence. We must speak to those in our churches who look different than we do and assure them that we love and embrace them. Our words now are extremely important—and of course, they must be backed up with our actions.

We should not celebrate what hurts our brothers and sisters. Although in your face celebrations are popular in our culture, they disrespect other people made in the image of God. Those whose candidate won must be gracious in victory seeking healing. They cannot understand how those on the other sides feel. Rather than presume the other side is wrong  in their feelings of joy or grief, we should simply love and stand with them as brothers and sisters.

Instead of keeping silent, let’s become peacemakers and let’s honor all people by being slow to speak and respectful of others whose backgrounds mean that we cannot identify with their fears.

“Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (Rom. 12:17, ESV).

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).

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