21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.
This week’s sermon at my church was on bitterness and how we must let it go or it will consume us. My pastor laid out 5 facts about people who harbor bitterness and it got me thinking about my attitude toward politics.
People with bitterness:
1 – Justify their bitterness.
2 – Become overly critical.
3 – Secretly celebrate misfortunes of others.
4 – Write off entire groups of people.
5 – Struggle to see their bitterness in the mirror.
I am blessed to have a personality that forgives and forgets fairly easily so as I was listening to this sermon I couldn’t come up with an individual from my past that I still harbored bitterness toward and that made me feel pretty pious. But then I started thinking about a “group” I have bitterness toward that I have not forgiven and then that pious feeling morphed into a feeling of conviction. The group that I haven’t forgiven can be characterized by many names – Leftists, Obama supporters, Democrats, etc.
Those who frequent my blog know I have great disdain for Obama, Pelosi, Reid, et. al. who are destroying our country. I have not characterized my criticism of the Leftist Democrats as ‘bitterness’ but as I looked over these 5 traits of bitterness, I realized (to the outside observer) I met all of them!
I justify my aggressive attitude to Leftists because I feel that it is my duty as a US citizen to fight those who wish to defy the US Constitution. I want to secure a better future for my children and the only way I can to this, other than my vote, is to be vocal on Twitter, Facebook and this blog in my opposition to their actions.
I am extremely critical of Team Obama and will gladly write blog posts when I hear them say anything that I feel is in opposition to the Constitution, Free Market Capitalism or fiscal/economic Conservative principles.
I don’t secretly celebrate the misfortunes of Leftists, I publically celebrate them! I revel in such instances when: Team Obama gets caught threatening a journalist, the promises of Obamacare fall short or Leftists come unhinged.
When I interact with someone who is a Democrat/Liberal, I automatically put them in a box labeled – ‘seeks to destroy the US’ – and I do this with great ease. I do this even though I am personally friends with Democrats and know that they also feel they are acting in the best interest of the country.
I pat myself on the back when I embarrass a Leftist on twitter or write a blog post that I feel makes the case that they are evil and I am right.
So this is my dilemma. I am a follower of Jesus Christ and He has commanded me to forgive people because He has forgiven me. But I am also responsible for calling out evil when I see it and I have a duty to do leave this country in a better condition than I found it. Can I fight Leftists in the political arena and still do this in a manner that doesn’t harbor bitterness?
I think Yes!
For the most part, I have always adopted the mantle of ‘happy warrior’ and while I appear to the outside world as someone who is bitter, I engage in this political judo because I enjoy it. I love political debate and I enjoy fighting for what I believe is right. It’s not bitterness, it’s passion! Or at least that is what I tell myself when I look in the mirror….
While I feel I can continue to fight against Leftists without coming from a place of bitterness, I was convicted to alter at least one aspect of my social media modus operandi – I must stop pigeon holing other Democrats and instead approach them in this happy warrior mentality to have a healthy debate without demeaning them. If they want to get into the mud and start spouting memes from the Leftist hive mind then I’ll swing back but I must first treat them as individuals and not Leftists robots.
After listening to this sermon I realized I must stop assuming every Democrat wants to destroy the country. If I can engage in healthy debate instead of defaulting to ridicule then maybe I can influence the conversation in a positive manner. I’m just one person but if all conservatives adopted this method maybe we’d have a bigger impact. Grass roots conversations is how we’ll change the culture and the tenor of the debate and approaching the conversation in a more positive intent might yield bigger dividends.
So have I totally justified my aggressive political attitude/methods? Have I reconciled those actions with the teachings of Jesus?
Before I can say this, it should be noted that there is more to the passage from Matthew chapter 18. Jesus tells a parable that has a simple but profound takeaway – Because we have been forgiven a debt that we couldn’t repay (which happened when we acknowledge that we have placed our faith in the death/resurrection of Jesus as full payment for our sins), we should forgive smaller debts that our brothers and sisters have. Jesus gave no wiggle room for degrees of debts since they all pale in comparison to our sins against God.
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him.25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Obama is in power for another 4 years, the US is going down the wrong path, now is the time for Patriots to stand up…….But Jesus commands us to forgive……
I’m struggling with this!