Several people have asked me if I watched the debate Sunday night. Truth be told, I have not watched any of them. Don’t want to. Don’t need to. I am familiar enough with the candidates.
What bothers me most about this election is not who is running. What bothers me the most is the negative, nasty, vitriolic commentary about the candidates that is running out of the mouths of some people who identify as evangelical Christians. Negative talk demonizing this person or that person is not helpful to the work of the Kingdom of God. It does not make Christ’s glory and honor clear or attractive. It does the opposite. I am so tired of being told that the state of the church is tied to the state of the country. It isn’t. It never has been. If anything is true, it is the reverse. Want to “save the country?” Follow the Great Commission by living the Great Commandment, watch what happens. If that is not your cup of tea, that’s fine. If you want to dig into and spread the mayo of malice about, I promise I’ll love you anyway. But it would be nice if you would at least tell people you’re an atheist and help us in reverse. The church has enough problems already.
I’m all for giving opinions. I’m all for making the facts known. I am totally against speaking to or about people in a way that does not respect them or treat them with the dignity that they have as brothers and sisters in Christ, or as men and women who have been made in the image of God. Here’s my general rule for talking to or about other people: if you don’t think Jesus would talk that way to you, you shouldn’t talk that way to others.
There are some who might read this and conclude that I am not following my own advice. But, you will notice that I have not attacked anyone personally here. I have not said, “I wish So-and-so would tell people he/she is an atheist and help us in reverse!” That would be doing what I am saying we should not be doing as Christians. What I hope I have done here is to express my concern that especially in publicly speaking to and about particular people and what they did, do, or might do, that we ourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from our lips (Colossians 3:8, NIV) and give clothe our speech with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12 (NIV). Don’t fudge. Don’t hold back. Be honest. But don’t be a jerk.
The reality is, God is in charge, not the President. So remember, if it is true that all things work for the good of those who love God (Romans 8:28), the next president is included in “all things.”