America’s Crisis of Contempt

Well, that was interesting. I’ve never witnessed a State of the Union address quite like that. A president failed (or flatly refused) to shake the hand of the Speaker of House. Whether you believe it was on purpose or not depends on your particular political leanings.

There was no ambiguity to the Speaker’s actions, however. As the President of the United States finished his speech, she tore it up in front of Congress and a flabbergasted nation.

The actions of our leaders on February 4, 2020, revealed more clearly the state of our Union than any words spoken by the president that night. The divide in our nation is more bitter and visceral than just about any other period in our history, save the Civil War.

The problem, however, is not that we disagree.

The problem is how we disagree.

They say there are two topics which you should always avoid at parties: religion and politics. The reason is simple. They generally end in arguments. Both topics reveal our deepest held values. When others disagree with those values or challenge them, we feel our belief system being attacked. We feel we the need to defend what we consider to be absolute truth.

Disagreeing about politics and religion is nothing new. Arguing about politics and religion is nothing new. But our country and culture have taken them to a whole new level. In days gone by, politicians at least attempted to show a semblance of statesmanship and decorum.

If the State of the Union was any indicator, decorum is now a thing of the past.

I honestly have no platform or opportunity to change or even influence the behavior of the leaders of our country, though I pray for them often.

I do, however, have this platform to speak to you, dear reader.

If we are going to fix America’s crisis of contempt, it begins with individuals. Dare I say, it begins with us as Christians. We have Jesus’ command to love our enemies. God wants us to forgive as he has forgiven us. Jesus wants me to love even the worst of sinners as much as he has loved me (the worst of sinners).

Love does not mean we need to agree. Love does not mean we should remain silent. Love speaks, but it does so respectfully. It does so humbly. Love leads us to not respond in kind when someone refuses to shake our hand or rips up our speech. Love leads us to not judge other people’s motives or hearts simply because they disagree with us politically.

The majority of liberals in our country are not stupid, weak Communists who are out to rob us of our freedoms. The majority of conservatives are not racist, gun-toting Nazis who have succumb to the ravings of a lunatic.

We are Americans who disagree on how best to protect and provide for our nation. The differences are important. We should discuss them. We should feel passionate about them.

But look into your heart. Have you let contempt and condescension sneak in? Read carefully what you post and share on Facebook. Remember, it’s not always what you say. It’s how you say it.

Especially be aware of how you respond when others lash out against you. Consider how Jesus responded as they slapped him, spit on him and nailed him to a piece of wood. He forgave them. He loved them. He died for them.

Contempt has no place in the heart of a Christian.

  6 comments for “America’s Crisis of Contempt

  1. Kim Lahaie Day
    February 10, 2020 at 7:29 am

    Wow, this was well thought and written, and I find it quite convicting. Thank you so much for writing it, saying the hard things, issuing the reminders on how to behave as God’s own child. Jesus died for those who slapped and spit on Him…Thank you for writing this and sharing it.

    • schroera
      February 10, 2020 at 7:31 am

      Thank you, Kim, for your encouraging words. God bless!

  2. Kenneth McElveen
    February 10, 2020 at 7:53 am

    God Bless your approach to bind our differences. Yes, I pray and will continue praying for our Country. Difference we do have, and don’t understand how others come to their concussions but God knows and thankfully he is in Control.

  3. Ron Boehm
    February 10, 2020 at 8:54 am

    Well, for us older folks, some of us just do not care. Time marches on. We will not last as long as the Roman republic. Tech. Will take us down

  4. Lydia
    February 10, 2020 at 11:33 am

    I totally agree with keeping contempt out of our heart, but if you are going to give a homily and use part of the event to tell a story it isn’t complete. The Speaker didn’t introduce the President with the traditional introduction. When the President gave a copy of his speech to the Vice President, he didn’t shake hands either. Like you I turned on the tv just to see him to see him totally ignore the Speakers hand and thought, oops! Hugs!

    • schroera
      February 10, 2020 at 1:10 pm

      Lydia, thanks for your comment. There has been a lot of debate about whether the failure to shake the Speaker’s hand was intentional. I honestly couldn’t tell. Whether it was or not, I think we can all agree that both sides of the aisle have been speaking and acting in a way that is both unchristian and unloving.

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