Election day is quickly approaching here in the United States of America (interesting… United States… wait… stay on point..). Here are a few thoughts.
This is usually a very charged and divisive time in our country. I was trying to think back through the years and figure out if there was ever a more polarized election cycle during my life. As I did this, I remembered walking the hallways of Sturgis Public High School and seeing shirts. Yes, shirts. One person was wearing a shirt showing a baby developing in a womb, and it had a pro-life slogan on the back. Next to this person was a (former) friend wearing a shirt with a pro-choice slogan on it.
In the span of about one month, the school became polarized. Every step was walking into a political maze. It seemed as though you were considered odd if you were not wearing your idealogy on your shirt sleeve (literally… on your shirt!).
It was at this point that my friend was fed up. He wanted to go to school to learn, not to fight politics with friends.
So he came up with a new item to be worn at school: A bright yellow hooded sweatshirt.
On the front was a smiley face; on the back was a slogan. This slogan reads:
You will not mock my smile
you will not stop my laughter
you will stop reading this shirt.
Have a nice day
In short, this hoodie was a complete 180 from the political frenzy at school. Everyone wanted to buy one. People of every political affiliation recognized that they had common ground with the other, and honestly believed that there is happiness in this world. Also, I think people enjoyed a bright yellow hoodie.
This Pro-Happy movement became a running joke with my friends. Every smiley face that was seen was enjoyed, and every figure we could think of we turned into a Pro-Happy one. We even turned Darth Vader into a Pro-Happy figure.
And Forrest Gump’s cousin Boris:
For those that think this was our way of avoiding political interaction and discourse, they have never seen my friend and I in the same room together. We have discussed a lot of issues over the past 19 years of friendship. We have agreed and disagreed. But in the end, we understand there is something greater at stake than our political stance.
You see, each person is made in the image of God. In James 3:9-12 it gives a warning about how we interact with others.
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”
In this political time, I ask that you know what your ultimate political platform is. I ask that you see the dignity and honor each human deserves. It does not matter if that politician or person from a political stance is someone that irritates you, grinds your gears, gets you hot and bothers, or makes you want to break a wall. You are called to be respectable and God honoring.
That is what I remember every time I see a bright yellow hoodie. It doesn’t matter if you want to rule the galaxy or just be a good citizen, remember that you are called to love and respect your neighbor. Even if they don’t vote the same way.