Monday, October 8, 2018

Who is my neighbor?

As I watch the news, it’s sad how much both political parties are banking on anger as the force that will drive their base to the polls in November. Even sadder is the fact that they are right. In America now, the angriest party wins. But saddest of all are number of people who are, by baptism, Christian, and yet, are joining in the anger. 

We can and should debate, disagree, even argue. It’s how, in a democracy, we expect our elected officials to reach decisions for the good of all the people. But despite my best efforts, I can’t find anything in the teaching of Jesus that alllow me to say “I hate” or even “I can’t stand”, particularly in reference to a person I have never met. Even if I were to consider a person an “enemy” or believe they are my “persecutor” I have no choice but to love them. 

Does that mean I want to invite them to dinner? No. Does it mean that I have to trust them? No. But it does mean that I speak of them with the dignity that due to every human being. I pray for their wellbeing and conversion. 

If I am Christian then Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi are my neighbors. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are my neighbors. Nowhere do the gospels say that being Christian is easy. On the contrary, we are told repeatedly how difficult it is. We can repeat phrases like “one nation under God” or “in God we trust” all day long but if our words and actions are no different that those of the atheists and agnostics, if we Christians demonstrate the same vitriol, then are we Christians or merely hypocrites?