In Jesus’ day, the factions of the religious elite pitted themselves against each other. They so emphasized the letter of the law that they lost sight of the spirit and faith behind it. They judged others harshly and negatively, even accusing Jesus of cooperating with the devil. They resented any perceived loss of power or status, clinging to their own positions at all costs. By so living, they lost sight of the ultimate goal – the Kingdom of God.
I see too much of the same in our public sphere these days. Character accusations and half-truths fly from both political parties. Integrity, wisdom, truth, and the issues themselves take a back seat as the demons invade. Labels are applied with ruthless abandon, and each side accuses the other of operating by Beelzubul. There appears to be no common ground as battles are waged for power, prestige, and control. We divide our own house at a time when our survival is at stake.
Sadly, I can do little to stop this madness on the national stage. I can, however, try to reverse it in my own life. I can live with integrity and promote it in others. Against the rush of negativity, I can uphold the good and attempt to keep my faith and God-given intelligence at the core of my politics.
Therefore, I hereby resolve to:
Refuse to participate in bashing any politician of any political party.
Ignore the ads and learn the true facts about each person’s background and positions.
Have respectful discussions about the differences between policies, trying to find points on which we can agree while allowing room for thoughtful disagreement.
Pray for everyone who will cast a vote, that their choice may be governed by sound thinking instead of hysteria or hype.
Pray every day for our political leaders, both those presently in office and those who will be elected in November.
Pray for myself, that I resist the temptation to unfairly characterize or harshly judge.
Pray for our country, that we not remain a house divided, but that the spirit of faith and wisdom will bring us together for the good of all God’s people.
Amy Florian is a teacher and consultant working in Chicago. For many years she has partnered with the Passionists. See Amy’s website: http://www.amyflorian.com/.