I mentioned last blog how depressed I was by the failure of the Congressional Super Committee to make any progress. I had friends who just laughed cynically over the whole thing: "What did you expect, Charlie? It's congress!"
I get it--but I don't want to cave in to cynicism. I don't think the Christian should. I think it is too easy to say that the Super Committee log-jam happened simply because each member was trying to save his or her political skin. I am sure that that was part of the picture, but there were also sincerely held and conflicting ideals in the mix.
Being an involved citizen (or congressperson) is a little like being married. It is living 24/7 with somebody besides yourself (in the case of politics, lots of somebodies). This would be fine if nobody but you wanted to be at the center of things. Unfortunately, everyone else is just like you in thinking that his opinion, his candidate, and his strategy for making things better are all the best. This is where the heat in politics comes from most deeply: everybody wants things to go his way.
Given this analysis we can see where the solution to political heat must begin—and continue. Each of us must surrender the throne he has wrongly assumed. He must surrender it first to God, by sincerely trusting God for the outcomes he seeks, and second to his neighbor in service.
Doing these things will not mean that we will no longer have any heartfelt disagreements—even in the church. Nor does it guarantee that, if you serve me, I will in turn serve you (people spurned Jesus’ love and they may well spurn yours). Nevertheless if you do your part, you will find the heat in you dropping down a notch or two. For your sense that all is well will no longer depend on getting things your way. “Winning” will no longer mean getting your candidate or policy in place; it will mean doing the right thing and leaving the results in God’s hands. You will find yourself more able to back down when someone insults you. Winning a school board debate won’t be quite as important as it once was, since your ego will no longer be invested in the outcome, and for that reason compromise will be easier. When love begins to replace winning for growing numbers of citizens, life together becomes more tolerable.