I recently drove to the east side of Cleveland for a meeting with some dear brothers and sisters in Christ. It was a rough neighborhood - a place where a white, middle-class suburbanite is not typically welcomed with open arms. As I drove to the church, I quickly realized that this particular community has a very different political worldview than I do, based on the yard signs all around me. Even when I arrived at the church, I noticed a few people sporting campaign buttons for a candidate I know I will not be voting for.
My recent trip gave me a moment to take a step back. Please don't misunderstand me - I have not changed my political outlook. However, I see my brothers and sisters in Christ in a different light. You see, I have the luxury of making morals and values my driving concern in an election. I don't hear gun shots going off while I sit and watch TV at night. I don't have drug deals taking place in front of my house. I send my kids off to school every day without fearing that I will never see them again due to gang violence. My hopes for my kids include college, marriage, and a satisfying career. A lifetime of struggling and poverty are the furthest thing from my mind for them.
If all that changed, I can't help but wonder if wanting a better life for my kids might not become my highest election priority. Again, all this doesn't change my stand on abortion or its importance. All I am saying is I need to have extend a little more grace and understanding to someone who has daily concerns of which I can't even pretend to understand which impact their choice of a political candidate. We can have strong position on issues, but it would also do us well to try and understand that the person voting differently than us is doing so for a reason that is urgently important to them.