Love Wins and Loses Graciously

The results – or most of them – are in.

Some people are celebrating. Others are grieving.

How do we respond to election results if we stand with love?

Here are five simple steps to keep in mind today:

1. Feel your feelings.

What results are your celebrating? What results are you grieving? What does your strength of emotion say about how much you cared

2. Name and express your feelings.

To yourself or to a partner or friend, it might be good to name your feelings – elated, disappointed, furious, ecstatic, whatever. You may want to express those feelings in a prayer, a posting on social media, a journal, or simply in a conversation with someone you trust and love – as you invite them to share their feelings with you.

3. Invite others to express their feelings – and listen with empathy, not judgment.

Even if you voted differently, and even if your feelings are the opposite of your neighbor’s, you can still empathize. You know what it’s like to win and to lose. You might say something like, “Even though I voted differently, I respect your freedom to vote your conscience, and I feel your grief (or joy).”

4. Express your hope.

Now, people who feel like winners and people who feel like losers need to pull together and become healers … healers of the wounds that have been inflicted, divisions that have been intensified, and suspicions that have been sowed. Now is the time to express hope, maybe like this: “Now that the election is over, we all have a lot of hard work to do … to bring healing to our nation and to work together for the common good.”

5. Stand with love.

We all know that some people have threatened violence if they don’t get their way, and we all know that some people will be so bitter about the results that they will be tempted to lash out at others. If you see or hear about people who are threatened, go to them. Stand with them. Stand with love.

Brian McLaren is a former English teacher and a former pastor. He is now a writer, speaker, and activist. His new book is The Great Spiritual Migration.