November 17, 2016

Post Election “Healing”

Gary Thomas — 

This blog is not written for women in abusive marriages. The advice offered in these posts will challenge both husbands and wives, but the advice could be counter-productive if it is applied in an abusive relationship.

ElectionWe’ve all heard the calls to “unite” and “heal” following one of the most contentious presidential elections in modern history. I’m not calling marching, protesting, and posting on Facebook inappropriate, but it hasn’t been all that effective in bringing us “together,” has it?

How about we try something different; what if we decide to make this Christmas a little extra special for one particular family?  What if people who voted in one of three ways decided to follow up their vote by making Christmas special for specific families?

Those who voted for Hillary Clinton and are appalled by the things Donald Trump said during the campaign and feel genuinely frightened about the future and the implications of this election can “adopt” certain families for Christmas and say, “You might feel threatened or ignored by the future government, but you’re still cared for by God’s people. We want you to feel noticed and loved.” Perhaps you can find a family that fits the demographic that you believe is most threatened or afraid.

Those who voted for Donald Trump and are tired of having their vote characterized as one of hate when they truly thought their vote would create a better country can go from the macro to the micro and say, “We’ve never been motivated by hate and in fact love everyone in this country, and we love you, and we’re demonstrating this love by helping to give you a special Christmas.”

Those who believed they couldn’t vote for either major candidate can say, “We couldn’t vote for Clinton or Trump, but we can vote for you this Christmas. Here’s a gift in Jesus’ name.”

Lisa and I have tried to be very focused this Christmas season. We know of a small ministry that provides Christmas gifts to children whose moms have recently fled domestic violence.  Because of our call to bless marriages, we want to make Christmas special for those families whose marriages have broken apart due to violence. We don’t want Christmas gifts to be another casualty of divorce.

Because the economy has been so bad (we’ve just gone through the first 8 year stretch in American history when the GDP never reached 3% growth in a single year), as a pastor I’ve dealt with a lot of unemployed people and have seen the toll this takes on marriages, so we’re also giving a little something to a family hit hard by long-term unemployment.

And because Lisa and I remember the “sting” of Christmas when a commitment to ministry makes the budget extra tight, we always look for a family involved in ministry that would be blessed, just a bit, by adding to their Christmas budget.

Added to that is the work Second Baptist does through its “Angels of Light” ministry–bringing in thousands of kids and giving away thousands of gifts, meals, and clothes to those from under-privileged backgrounds. We’ll be participating in that, as well.

None of this will be done in the name of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or as a protest, but as an act of love in the name of Jesus Christ.

If someone cares to fault the way we voted (neither Lisa nor I have or will make our vote public because that’s the policy of the church I’m on staff with), we can have the quiet satisfaction that we did more than vote—we tried to make a real difference in several families’ Christmases. Some may question our politics, but can they question our heart for reaching the victims of domestic violence, the unemployed, ministry folks who may be underpaid, and under-privileged families from the inner city?

Faith without works is dead, but in a sense, so are votes without works. Our civic responsibility—and even more important, our Christian responsibility—doesn’t end at the ballot box. We’re called to look after the orphan and widow in their distress (James 1:27).

Instead of fighting with your relatives over Thanksgiving you can say, “How about we agree on this: let’s all adopt a family for Christmas that has been hurt by the current administration (if that’s your belief) or will likely be hurt by the future administration (if that’s your belief)” and leave it at that?

How many families do you think this blog community could reach?

Would you prayerfully consider finding one or more families that fit a demographic for whom you have a special concern this Christmas? Will you let us know how many you’ve decided to bless? You could reply, “We’ve got one,” or “We’ll reach three.” If you want it to remain anonymous, you can email us at alli@garythomas.com and just say, “Put us down for five” (or whatever number you choose). We’ll provide a running count.

Wouldn’t it be special if a people who love Jesus and love families and love marriage want to support real families this Christmas with a special blessing? We’re not telling you where to give or how—and please, don’t send anything here! This should go directly to a family. It may not be (and for us often isn’t) tax-deductible, but that’s not why you’re giving. You want to celebrate Jesus’ birth by making another family’s celebration extra special.

Please, let us know what you decide. We’ll keep you updated on how many decide to join this effort. This is a small act, it’ll never be written about, but together, in a quiet way, we can do just a little bit to bring actual healing to a fractured country by pointing people back to the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

FAMILIES TO BE BLESSED: 11

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13 responses to Post Election “Healing”

  1. Thank you for your approach to helping marriages and families! It’s a passion of ours as we minister to a small group of married couples and having your blog and books helps us as we’re trying to help them. We’ve decided to “be a blessing” to one family in our local church (whom just lost her husband in the war). She has two small children and recently had to move back from another state in lieu of the situation. Thank you for sharing this opportunity with my family! God bless!

  2. I really appreciate this word Gary! A little kindness, understanding and respect would go such a long way in uniting the country after this polarizing election. Thanks for your wisdom and work!

  3. Gary, I love the courage and conviction in what you share. In my house we (voting adults) voted 3 different ways! I also shared this with my very left wing liberal sister, my very right wing conservative brother-in-law and took it to heart myself. We will be looking for our own family to sponsor. Thank you for your ministry and I hope you will be encouraged that your words have been well received. We think God has uniquely gifted you in this way.

  4. We (My husband and good friend of mine along with her husband) adopted a young family this year. A mother of 3 young children found out she has stage 4 breast cancer and it was already in her bones. Her husband has recently lost his job because of all the time he spent taking his wife to the hospital. Unemployment hasn’t been approved, and someone totaled out their van a couple of weeks ago. God has a way of bringing us to the point where He is literally all we have left. Only, this family is atheist. I have never loved strangers like I love this family (I have begged the Lord through tears that they will come to know and accept Christ) I want to bless them this Christmas, so I am praying for creative ways to minister to their needs, so Jesus can enter their home through the love and compassion of His children. Anyone reading this, will you lift up this family in prayer? The parents allow their 8 year old (the oldest) to attend church with us, and he really enjoys it, but he doesn’t yet understand his need for Salvation.

    Gary, you and Lisa are true inspirations. Thank you for giving to the Lord!

  5. Thank you for sharing God’s love. Through you, I feel the Spirit motivating me to help a young mother or feed a family in our community to share His love. This isn’t about politics, it’s about Grace. May God bless you.

  6. Thank you for the great Post. I love and agree with all you said. When and as we reach out to others with the love of Jesus and tangibly help those in need we are being His hands and feet. We are also blessed with peace and joy as we do His will for His honour and glory. Your example of how to respond to those who voted differently than the way we would have voted is excellent. You have fostered peace and love throughout your blog and given tangible ways in which we can bring peace instead of conflict to a situation. I thank God for you, your wife and your family and I pray God’s blessing over you and your family and over the United States. I live in Canada and I am so happy to read your blog. Your godly advice can be applied to so many different situations that we find ourselves in. As you have already said Jesus loves all people and reaches out to all people. May we all continue to reach out to and love all people through our words and actions so that we will not be a stumbling block for them to come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.

    • Thank you for the kind words Ruth and your especially for your prayers. I was just in Saskatoon earlier this month and am headed back up north in 2017. Turn up the heat for me!

  7. Is there a way to repost this on Facebook legally? Is that okay? Perfect response to the contentiousness that is seeming to pervade the Body of Christ right now in so many areas.

    Also, my 24 year old daughter died 31 months ago. I remember limping through those first holidays without her. Even the thought of the pain brings tears to my eyes. Since then I try to find a family who is going through their first holidays after child loss to reach out to in whatever way I am able.

    To me, this is an appropriate response to grief. I love your idea of reaching out this holiday season because I believe that responding in love to those deep feelings of sadness and disappointment is a way of walking out 1 Thess 5:16-18.

    • Nanette, perfect application! So sorry for your loss, but that’s the exact kind of application I think we’re called to–giving others comfort where we have been comforted. Bless you in this.

      You can post this on Facebook by using the Facebook share button at the end of the post.

  8. Oh, how I love this! Thank you for who you are, Gary and Lisa!