For a peace-loving person like me, the fracas of emotionally laden opinions during election year is overwhelming and a bit frightening. I don’t know what to do with the sentiments I hear aired so openly and disagreeably. I don’t know how to handle the disturbance in my own heart as I look at the moral and political condition of America.
Several verses have been settling in my mind, offering a safe place for my heart to rest amid the upheaval.
The first one is in Isaiah. I found this verse recently during my daily Bible reading.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah 5:20 (ESV)
I think of this verse every time I hear discourse rationalizing the sinful behavior of people in power. Something in our soul cracks when we name as “good” what is evil. What begins as an almost imperceptible shift widens and widens, until we find our sense of morality failing. We sign a contract with a line or two of the Dark Side, and that part of us darkens.
At the same time, I’m reminded of this verse in Romans:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
Romans 13:1 (ESV)
So while I cannot call good what is wrong, I am commanded by God to respect the authorities He has placed over me. This is harder than I wish it would be. How do you respect people you think are doing wrong? But there it is, “let every person be subject…for there is no authority except from God.” I can do my best to speak respectfully, to refrain from useless debating, to pray always for the leaders of America. If my words don’t reflect the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, I need to ask God for help.
And there are my two maxims for election year: Don’t call “good” what is evil. Be respectful.