5 Christian lessons from Hillary Clinton’s emotional concession speech

Dear Hillary: Whether I agreed or disagreed with you during this election season, I really heard your call to build the American community of compassion and respect.

Fighting For You | Hillary Clinton | Youtube

Watching Hillary’s concession speech had me thinking about what it means to be a Christian. It has never meant taking the easy road. Loving, intentionally, the neighbor you may not like, the one who is very different from you, is often the hardest part of Christian duty. But the rewards for this kind of compassion are in the community that it builds.

The first step on the road to community is gratitude.

Hillary, you started with “thank you.” For the applause, for the time, and for the effort your supporters, friends, and family put into your campaign, you are grateful. How often do I start with “thank you” when I’m not getting what I want? How often do I take stock of blessings and opportunities before tallying up inequalities and defeats? The answer is not often enough. I hope I can be grateful, as you were, for the opportunity for “building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted.” Thanksgiving enables us to be open to community building, to sharing blessings.

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The second step on the journey to unity is empathy.

Women say “sorry” a lot. My daughter seems to endlessly apologize for things she didn’t do or at times when an apology is unnecessary. Hillary, you moved from gratitude to apology, and while my first instinct was to rankle because I’m not sure any political candidate owes the electorate an apology for attempting to serve the country, something more profound became apparent. “I’m sorry,” when it’s sincere, can only mean, “I empathize.” Americans are proving ourselves to be divided, not because we hate each other, Internet comments to the contrary, but because we are hurting. More empathy goes a long way toward healing.

A third step is acknowledging the shared humanity in all of us.

When you let your emotions show during your concession speech, you proved yourself human. We need to allow those feelings in ourselves so that we can recognize pain and suffering in others. We can capture reflections of ourselves in one another if we are willing to look at each other long enough. You said your campaign was to promote an “American dream [that] is big enough for everyone.” That’s how we honor the Christian belief that we are all created in God’s image.

The fourth, there must be grace.

You showed grace in encouraging good will toward President-elect Donald Trump, saying, “I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans … We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead.” Contemplative, prayerful Christians must come together and be mastered by our better angels. It can no longer matter who we supported yesterday and whether we are elated or disappointed by the outcome. Today requires new action; today necessitates new direction.

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So whether I agreed or disagreed with you during this election season, I hear the call to build the American community of compassion and respect. In a divided country, we are capable of moving through our disappointments, no matter our political affiliations, in order to be great together.

You quoted from the book of Galatians, a benediction, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in good season we shall reap.” As a Christian, may I be prepared to reap goodness.

 

Nicole Leigh Shaw
Nicole Leigh Shaw
Nicole Leigh Shaw, a former newspaper journalist, has been moving through all the metamorphic stages of the modern writer, except "tortured novelist." Soon she'll emerge as a butterfly or a vlogger. She writes for ScaryMommy.com, Momtastic.com and others, and has contributed to five anthologies, including the New York Times' bestseller "I Just Want to Pee Alone." She has four kids, two dogs and one husband.

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