In the last week, television programs, radio talk shows, and the internet have played host to all kinds of arrogant, combative, hateful tirades aimed at those whose political views differ from the speaker or writer. Such an atmosphere unfortunately has become the norm in our society and can hardly be said to be surprising. Sadly, much of the inexcusably hateful chatter I have come across this week has come from those who claim to be followers of Jesus. The name-calling, slanderous slurs, inaccurate insinuations of folks on both sides of the political aisle have been disheartening. The claims by people on both sides that God is on their particular side have been discouraging. Politically charged attacks on philosophical enemies shrouded in prayer language have been disgusting.
Certainly there is a time and place for vigorous, even heated dialogue regarding issues that affect the lives of so many. What is more, there is a time and place for serious disagreement and a time and place to take a stand. But if we follow Jesus, we must never allow our passion for or commitment to a particular political philosophy to lead us to engage in behavior that flies in the face of Jesus’ call to love and pray for our enemies. If we follow Jesus, we must never allow our passion for or commitment to a particular political philosophy to lead us to take the Lord’s name in vain by claiming to know with certainty that God is on this side or that side.
If we truly follow Jesus, we trust that our future is not dependent upon the triumph of big government or limited government. We trust that our future is not dependent upon privatized healthcare or government-run healthcare. Our future is not dependent upon whether Democrats or Republicans control the House of Representatives, the Senate, or the White House. Rather, if we truly follow Jesus, we trust the enemy-loving peacemaker who said, “Seek first God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness.”
O God purify our speech and actions. Help us in our speech and actions to seek first your kingdom and your righteousness. Lead us not into the temptation toward hateful speech and deliver us from the evil of attacking our enemies. Give us the courage not to follow those who spread hatred or incite fear, but to follow Jesus whose love for enemies overwhelms hatred and drives out fear. By your Spirit conform us to the likeness of the Peacemaker, in whose name we pray. Amen.