Campaigns are always about words. This election season seems to be more so than any I remember. From emails to disparaging words about someone’s appearance, from “deplorables” to bragging about sexual assault , we’ve had to listen to too many awful words. And that is just the candidates! Some of the things we’ve read on Facebook and Twitter, or on 24-hour news by people with strong opinions, justifying their candidate’s horrid use of words (whoever that candidate may be), have been amazing.
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.’ [from Luke 18]
No one is without problems when it comes to words. We all have used them for harm. There’s no excuse.
And though this passage is not explicitly about words, it reminds us that when we look with contempt on someone else, we are probably more like that person than we’d like to believe. The one who is justified is the one who knows what a jerk he’s been, and is truly sorry for it. Since God looks on the heart, and doesn’t just listen to our words, God knows.
What we need, in politics and in personal life, is less contempt, more sorry, and more words with less animosity. God help us.
© 2016, Melissa Bane Sevier