I am often asked by friends, family, supporters, and my fellow elected officials, “How do you deal with all the political rhetoric and negativity?” Of the many things I enjoy and consider sacred about our American Freedoms, one of the most important is our right to speak truth to power. The key word in that statement being “truth.” If you haven’t noticed, we’re coming into our local government campaign season. And with that, we are beginning to see all kinds of negativity from people with political ambitions and desires to be in power. What you’ll notice about people who are not true servant leaders is that they pro-actively or passively partake in throwing mud at people, hoping that if they throw enough of it, some of it will eventually stick and sway the opinion of the electorate. Through the process of criticism, these people hope to create doubt about an opposing candidate’s character, and give you a reason to see their point of view. Such behavior should be a red flag. An election is essentially a drawn-out job interview. If all an applicant can do is talk negatively about all the other people applying for that job, and not about why he or she is most qualified for the position, that’s the sign of a weak candidate.
Fortunately, what I have observed in Montgomery County for the last 30 years, as well as in the 2016 presidential campaign, is that such tactics aren’t working. Informed voters here and across America took the time to find out the truth. Why do social media trolls and bloggers use the internet in such perpetual negativity? It’s obvious to me that they are hurting people who are willing to do anything to get their candidate’s in office.
How do I deal with the criticism in the rhetoric of politics? Every answer to every issue in your life can be found in the Word of God. Every solution to every problem can be found in the Word of God. Every answer to every question you may have in your mind can be found in the Word of God. We need to use the principles, promises, and wisdom of our faith to guide us, not only in voting decisions, but in how we treat people and how we pray for people, as those who are the most critical are often the ones in the most pain.
There is so much brokenness in our society. Let us love and pray for those who are hurting enough to hurt others. But also let the Word of God guide us and give us wisdom in everything we do. So my opening question was “What does God hate?” What does His Word say that can be applied to the negativity in politics specifically?
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him as found in Proverbs 6: 16-19: 1) haughty eyes. 2) a lying tongue, 3) hands that shed innocent blood, 4) a heart that devises wicked schemes, 5) feet that are quick to rush into evil, 6) a false witness who pours out lies. 7) a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
Now does this mean God hates the person? No, He hates the behavior. And like any action we take in life, we will be held accountable for that action. I am so thankful for God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness. So pray for those who participate in that type of activity, that they will find the abundance of HIS love, purpose, power, and plan. None of us are like God, so we can’t judge people’s motives. However, His Word does say, “by their fruits you shall know them,” so it’s okay for you to be a fruit inspector and if someone says they are an apple, but they look like a banana, it’s okay for you to say to them, “Sorry, but you are a banana and I will not vote for anybody that claims to be an apple but engages in behavior that God hates.” Remember, we are all the apple of God’s eye and let’s pray for those bananas that haven’t figured it out yet.