Don’t look now Christians, but God is giving us an opportunity

Many of those on the political right had a field day this last week when President Biden gave a speech where he urged Americans to "lower the temperature" in our political rhetoric and moral disagreements.

No matter how much grace you attempt to extend to Mr. Biden, you simply cannot help but chuckle that someone who has allowed his presidency to routinely descend into the armpit of political rancor and resentment would audaciously attempt to cast himself as the conciliator of goodwill.

While I share the majority viewpoint of my fellow countrymen, that the man who occupies the oval office is most likely unaware of who is using him and how he is being used, the fact remains that the persona of Joe Biden has become synonymous with bitter partisanship.

In that red backdrop speech alone, Biden's speechwriters had the president decry his political opposition with terms like, "odious," "unconscionable," "vicious," and "pernicious," and claimed that those who disagreed with his stance on ballot validation were pushing us to the edge of Civil War.

"[They] promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country," Biden said. . . . "[They're] determined to take this country backwards… They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies."

Certainly this is nothing unique to Joe Biden. You have to go back to the presidency of George W. Bush to find an American president who frequently attempted to speak kindly and genially of his "loyal opposition." Following his presidency, in 2008, the country elected a man who had risen to prominence through the art of community organizing. That is, he had mastered the practice of identifying an "enemy," characterizing that enemy, and rhetorically scaring the living daylights out of a group of people to motivate them to action. Barack Obama brought those talents to D.C. and national politics hasn't been the same since.

After years of being insulted and castigated as bigots, racists, and Neanderthals, the political right went out and hired their own bully in 2016. Just as Obama before him and Biden after him, Donald Trump came into office promising to be the president for all Americans. Once he came under attack from the left however, Trump unleashed a jaw-dropping litany of insults and accusations against half the country: "horrendous people," "sick," "crooked," "stupid," "vicious," "angry and deranged," "very selfish," "heartless," who "will destroy our country."

Joe Biden was elected on heels of that conduct promising to be a better unifier. Instead, he has likened Republicans to "segregationists," "Nazis," "fascists," "white supremacists," "terrorists," and claimed they want to put black people "back in chains."

This is the popular culture we Americans have chosen for ourselves. Plenty of political scientists and analysts have their theories as to why it's happened, but I don't think any of them properly pinpoint the origin.

The truth is that Satan has effectively tempted our collective hearts to embrace derision, mockery, anger, and malice towards those with whom we disagree. "Maybe if we ‘own' more people with our rhetoric, we'll unite the country" is the apparent belief that both political tribes have decided to run with. The fruit of that approach is visible all around us, beginning with Obama, escalating with Trump, now currently manifesting with Biden.

In a time such as this, how different, how unique are Christians designated and instructed to be?

Call me crazy, but I think God is offering His ambassadors an incredibly unique opportunity in this very cultural moment to distinguish ourselves and bring Him glory.

  • Through words that, even in disagreement, are focused on building others up or pointing them in the ultimate direction of truth.
  • Through rhetoric that isn't passive or permissive when it comes to wrong, but that offers a radically different approach to dealing with the wrong.
  • Through confrontations that first and foremost see the other side as fearfully and wonderfully made creations of the Most High God, beings bearing His image, and thus worthy of dignity.
  • By being servants who don't perceive their role as warriors meant to conquer so that Christ can reign, but rather messengers proclaiming that Christ is a King who already reigns.

The world says that's naïve and short-sighted. "You can't win elections that way," I'm told. "You have to play cut-throat and fight fire with fire." But Jesus didn't conquer sin through worldly methods, and if sin is at the heart of what ails our social culture today, I don't think we Christians will either.

What if in the midst of all this darkness, as politicians and powerbrokers make a mockery of things like unity and brotherhood, we Christians offered something real, something righteous? What if we really tried being the light of the world?

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Not the Bee or any of its affiliates.

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