“America is a sad place to live today,” posted one of my facebook friends, Jimmy Grushon, a long time friend and brother in Christ.
Jim laments, “The ideologies of politics have made people consumed in self and disrespectful of others who don’t view the world from their point of view. We are witnessing a society that hates more, is more hypocritical, more political, godless, more disrespectful and more self consumed than any time in my lifetime. “
“The principles of kindness, gentleness, and service to others has been trampled on by the egos of people who think they are smarter, more intellectual, more informed than anyone else. We use our tongues as weapons to cause division and criticize rather than encourage and make peace. I thought when the election was over we could get back to civility and move forward.
However, as Jim correctly observed, the “intolerance of those who preach tolerance has consumed every nook and cranny of our country.”
“I pray for our country and hope that we soon realize that our enemy is not some foreign power; it is our own lack of respect for one another. It’s time to stop letting political ideology from the extremes of both parties cloud the proper attitude and respect we need for each other in our society.”
I have heard several political pundits echo the same sentiments as Jimmy Grushson. This attitude and atmosphere is corrosive and divisive. As Christians, we must live on a higher level and not react to hateful rhetoric in kind.
So, how do we respond to intolerance, ugly attitudes, and vitriolic speech?
Jim added these suggestions. “I don’t care which side you’re on. Stop it. Make change with positive action and respectful debate, not degrading and hateful speech. The value of ideas ends when the only idea that can be acceptable is your own.”
“We who are Christians need to set the example of kindness. We who are Christians should not violate our faith but recognize that others’ faith may not be the same as ours but they have the right to have it. It is fair to let them express their ideas without forcing it on us and it is fair for us to do the same. Until this country returns to respect for one another and the ability to live together while disagreeing in a considerate way our country will look as it does now.”
Jim Grushon’s timely thoughts are based on Biblical principles that can guard our attitudes and guide our actions to as we face difficult times and unreasonable people.
Jesus taught “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matt 5:44).
Consider these admonitions from the pen of the apostle Paul. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:31-32).
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col 3:12).
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Phil 2:3-4)
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1Tim. 2:1-2)
These Biblical exhortations remind me of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
The America we live in does not have to be a “sad place.” We can make our little corner of the world a happy place.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman