“Remind them to submit to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to slander no one, to be uncontentious, to be kind, showing all gentleness to everyone.” Paul’s letter to Titus 3:1, 2.
If we’ve turned on the TV news in the last few weeks, we have been confronted with images of people screaming in anger at their congressmen and senators at town hall meetings. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anything quite like this in my life. The only thing that comes close is the anti-war protests of the 60s and 70s.
But this is different even from that! The folks we see now are not long-haired hippies, not young people – but older, normal looking, decent looking middle class (usually white) Americans – the kind of folks we might have as neighbors or see on Sunday morning in church. And they’re not protesting a long drawn out war in which tens of thousands of Americans have died. They’re screaming out in fear of a proposed government health-care plan!
Their faces are red and contorted with anger. They shake their fists. They accuse their President and congress of being Nazis or socialists or communists. They scream out about “death panels” and other myths. They carry posters with a picture of their President altered to make him look like Hitler. Some even carry guns.
Now I realize there is much room for disagreement on this matter. I also realize that the TV news media seek out situations such as this and that they are not necessarily typical. But still these scenes are troubling. This is not an aspect of America that I am proud of. I’m ashamed! This sort of hateful, just plain mean, disrespect for those in authority has no place in our public discourse. And worst of all, I strongly suspect that some of these screamers are folks who would claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. Why do I suspect this? I see hints on some of my e-mails from Christian friends and things I read on Facebook, especially those that refer me to a video of some talking (shouting?) head.
But Jesus didn’t behave this way. The only people I see Him getting angry at are religious people who didn’t live out their profession. He rather said:
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29).
“But I say to you love your enemies and pray for your persecutors” (Matthew 5:44).
By the way, our President and congress are neither of those two.