It appears that Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has been destroyed again. In the last several months, politicians have been told to leave restaurants, other politicians have called for violence against leaders with opposing political views, and some celebrities have been fired from their shows for making political statements (some highly inappropriate).
I have recently heard it said that bipartisan work in the government is quickly becoming a thing of the past. There is a clear lack of integrity in our political sphere. Politicians and voters alike have been acting in a very unbecoming manner.
In the Bible, Jesus tells us to love our enemies. We are not told to agree with them or to let them abuse us, but we are told to treat them well. All people are made in the image of God. All people equally bear God’s image. God’s image in humans is broken because of sin, but that sin does not override our calling to treat all people with love. All people are valuable simply because God made them. No one deserves to be treated as less than human.
In Christianity there is no place for incited violence. There is no place for political mud-slinging. I will be the first to say that I have not agreed with many things that Donald Trump has done in his Presidency. I will also say that I think some “evangelical” leaders in our culture have wrongly justified some of the things he has said and done. But he does not deserve to have his star pummeled. He does not deserve the harsh political humor that crosses the line between satire and down-right meanness.
I am ashamed of how people in our country are behaving towards politicians and politics. I am ashamed at how our politicians are behaving as well.
Instead of throwing dirt, throwing shade, trying to mar reputations, and looking for ways to divide, we should be looking for ways to unify.
People are never going to agree about everything, but it is important to learn to agree to disagree in a civil manner. Being civil requires two things, virtue and dignity. Virtue can be defined as high moral character. Michelle Obama nicely put it when she said “When they go low, we go high.” In other words, don’t repay wrong for wrong. Instead be better than those with low moral character. Dignity is when someone’s character is worthy of respect. People without virtue are often not worthy of respect, but people of virtue commend respect.
We can’t change how our politicians behave, only they can change their attitudes and behaviors. We can’t change how all voters behave, but we can change how we behave. If we are people of virtue and dignity, people who stand for what is right, but who also treat others the way we want to be treated, then perhaps others will see us, feel convicted of their own lack of dignity, and modify their behaviors. After a while, maybe that will bleed into the political realm.
My plea is that we as Christians live lives that reflect well upon the God we serve. I pray that we will be characterized with virtue and that our words will be true and gentle, turning away wrath. If Christians show the love of Christ, if Christians treat others well, if Christians share their convictions in love, then people might just see the truth in what we claim to believe.
What kind of a person will you be this week? Will you promote the degradation of society by joining in hateful speech or actions, or will you promote the cause of Christ through gentle words? Will you speak truth in love? Will you help others find dignity?
To close this post, read below something that Bob Dylan sang many years ago:
So many roads, so much at stake
Too many dead ends, I’m at the edge of the lake
Sometimes I wonder what it’s gonna take
To find dignity