“And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. … Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist,confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
We are in the midst of a political campaign in which both sides are engaging in anything except peaceful discussion. If you take the worst viewpoint of either side, either fascism is going to make a comeback or socialism will bleed our country dry and destroy it. Wild charges go back and forth, charges of such low probability that—barring a totally unexpected revelation—what are being told are outright lies. One side accuses Melania Trump of having been a prostitute. The other side accuses the Clintons of having gotten away with the assassination of several people. In almost every case, the charges are exaggerations; exaggerations which are designed to get people angry enough to vote for your side. Truth is an unfortunate casualty of the campaign. In fact, truth is merely another weapon in the fight against the enemy. Truth is what you have. “They” are lying. If what you say is found to be false by any fact-checking organization, you merely claim that the organization is biased and that they are the liars. Feed that to people already inclined to want to believe what you say, and lies become truths, while truths become lies.
I am constantly challenged by the verses from Saint James quoted above. The problem is that Saint James believes that where confusion is being sowed that there the demonic is present. If you want to win an election in modern America, the demonically wise thing to do is to sow confusion, aim for the sensual, and seek only what you want to happen. If, in the process, you are forced to stretch the truth somewhat, by doing things like presenting only partial quotations, and by drawing the worst possible conclusion about what your opponent said, you comfort yourself with the conviction that you must prevent this country from being led by the other side. If, in the process, you have to paint the other side as engaging in the very same practices in which you engage, while denying that you engage in them, why that is justified in order to keep the other side from winning. The survival of this country is at stake.
But, the very lies that are being told by both sides are what are eroding the foundations of this country. The “wisdom that is from above is … peaceable, gentle, willing to yield … .” Christians are no longer talking to each other in this country. It is one thing to argue strongly for truth. It is another thing to argue in such a way that the other side perceives you as unwilling to dialogue. You cannot say that a Christian can only vote for one party and at the same time claim that you are “willing to yield.” We currently live in a time in the USA in which the demonic has strong control over our politics. And, it is not on one side, but on both sides. Christians are unwilling to argue logically, but simply subscribe to the same conspiracy theories as those in the same parties to which they already owe allegiance. And, they have also adopted the practice of claiming that if they meet a Christian from the other side, either that Christian has “drunk the Kool-Aid” or that person is not truly a Christian.
Satan has truly done a job on the Christians in this country. Regardless for which party you vote for, you will be voting for platforms that contain anti-Christian elements. But, Satan has done one better. He has convinced honorable Christians on both sides that Christians who vote for the other side are deluded while your side is not. He has convinced all of us that we cannot talk with, or compromise with, Christians who are intending to vote for the other party. In the meantime, he has managed to convince 42% of the country (this country is divided about 42% Republican and 42% Democrat) that they are being repressed, persecuted, and ignored. This, of course, is impossible. But, it most certainly serves Satan’s purposes. When each side sees themselves as the aggrieved, persecuted party, there is no impetus to find a middle road. In fact, it takes a saint to pull back and realize what Satan is doing. The problem is that most of us are not saints.
Yet, we need Christians who are willing to live up to Saint James, chapter 3. We need Christians who are willing to acknowledge that they have brother and sister Christians on the other side. We need Christians who are willing to be peaceable and willing to yield. Short of that, we have an explosion coming in this country which will hurt all Christians. The explosion will hurt all Christians because both sides will end up being reviled as extremists who must be avoided. Right now, Satan is winning.