Flynn: How Christianity Helps Navigate Political Polarization

The Whit Staff Writer Joanna Flynn describes how political polarization has affected her and how she is using her Christian beliefs to navigate that. - Image via pixabay

I know this isn’t staying. I know this will pass.
But right now, I feel like I’m stepping on glass.
I’ve been trying to tiptoe, to play both sides,
And man, has it been one hell of a ride?
I have one foot in his camp, another in hers,
And sometimes I forget we’re all Yours.


This is the first presidential election I’ve been old enough to vote in. This is the first time that my opinions might actually have a minute chance of making a difference. And this is the first time I’ve felt the divide in our country so acutely.

As the nonconfrontational person that I am, I’ve been trying to pacify friends and family on all ends of the political spectrum. And it’s been absolutely exhausting. I deeply love and respect people who have voted for both candidates. I have listened to their thoughts and opinions, and I understand why they are so passionate about the things they care about. But I’ve also seen how someone’s passion for one thing can create a barrier between them and another human. I’ve seen ideas and opinions become more important than relationships. I’ve seen a rise in fear, of
separation, hatred, and of division.

Even I have had to make very conscious and deliberate decisions that I will not allow another’s political position to change my relationship with them. I firmly believe that God’s opinion of us will not be changed by who we vote for. His opinion of humanity will not be impacted by who wins the election.

He has already decided how He feels. He loves us—so much that He’d send His own son. So why should my opinion of someone change just because we disagree?

If Christians are called to live like Christ, that means we’re called to love like Him too. That means loving without limits. It means loving in spite of political affiliation, religious beliefs, race, class, gender, or sexuality. Jesus just loved. Reading the New Testament is reading story after story of Jesus loving people from every walk of life. He healed anyone who came to Him, whether they were rich, poor, Jewish, Gentile, religious, or outcasts. He didn’t care where they came from, because He came for them.

For the past months, I’ve felt like the poem above. I’ve had my foot in so many different pools, trying to understand, to empathize, to find the truth, to figure out who is right and who is wrong. I’ve had to step back and remind myself that each and every individual on this planet is seen and known and loved by God. Before being American, we are human – and for me, that means that we are all a part of the family of God.

Now, I don’t always agree with my family. Sometimes it gets a little tense. It can get a little awkward. But at the end of the day, we love each other. I will do my absolute best to love like Christ, without limits. Regardless of who wins this election, I will love it. I will love it because division does not benefit anyone. I will love it because everyone is hurting scared and anxious. I will love because we need to love and to be loved. Ultimately, I will love because Christ first loved me.

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