According to some comments made in the heat of the recent Presidential election campaign, I am suppose to stand up to "evil", and that apparently in a way and manner that would involve destroying a recently renewed and cherished friendship. I rather think the evil that needed to be resisted was the one that would destroy and deny me that cherished friendship,and that was the evil I choose to oppose.
Those who know me well at all have a pretty good idea which way my political opinions lean. I don't feel obligated to make those leanings a test of friendship or even Christian fellowship. And as I don't like it when other people shove their politics in my face, I am obligated to treat them as I wish to be treated. And with regard to the times when I have not done so, I confess my need for repentance.
I am very concerned and disturbed about the shrillness of political discourse these days from both sides of the political spectrum; a shrillness that lends itself to increased polarization, anger, and hatred for one another. Sixty second sound bites and media focused political campaigning does not lend itself to dispassionate and thoughtful political discussion.
If the principles of the Sermon on the Mount have any meaning at all, they have meaning for how we participate in political discussion. The implications of that was the focus of a previous post, so I will not repeat all of that here.
The questions remain for each of us in our conscience to answer before God. What is the evil in myself I need to stand up to and confront? Is it possible to stand up to and confront evil in an evil manner? What does the Gospel have to say about the manner and way of my political conversation, and for that matter, all areas of my conversation? In my focus on the political evil I see, am I forgetting my own need of repentance and forgiveness and subtly becoming smug in my self-righteousness?
It is true that we need to stand up to and confront evil. What is not always so clear is what evil it is we personally need to stand up to in a given moment. May God grant us the wisdom and discernment to see clearly what the real evil is that confronts us in our hearts.