In January 1830, Edward Livingston—himself a Washington Insider and member of a notable family reaching to the Revolution—stood in the United States Senate to speak about partisan politics. He had earlier said that the cost of partisanship for partisanship’s sake—of seeing politics as a blood sport, where the kill is the only object of the exercise—“was too high for a free society to pay.”
“The spirit of which I speak creates imaginary and magnifies real causes of complaint: arrogates to itself every virtue—denies every merit to its opponents; secretly entertains the worse designs…mounts the pulpit, and, in the name of a God of mercy and peace, preaches discord and vengeance; invokes the worst scourges of Heaven, war, pestilence, and famine, as preferable to party defeat; blind, vindictive, cruel, remorseless, unprincipled, and at last frantic, it communicates its madness to friends as well as foes; respects nothing, fears nothing.”
I have two immediate responses: Our politicians and partisans have been involved in the vitriolic approach almost from the beginning. No party or interest group can be excused. Not all are cruel or verbally involved in witchcraft. When one of my former favorite female singers critiqued the First Lady, I was on the verge of calling forth a surgical fireball strike.
That leads me to my second response to Livingston’s words. When we search for reasons and content as we “…turn from our wicked ways…,” how about partisan blood sport? Is that a wicked way?
The power hierarchy of the political parties probably don’t read my blogs—they won’t return my phone calls, so I have to deal with my own vitriolic choice of words. So, I’m sending Holy Spirit—God’s living Presence—to that singer and front page political people. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would lead us (and them!) into all truth.
It is not just a prayer meeting or Sunday School topic. Listening to a man talk about “building up our immune,” he listed, “Sleep, limit fast food, stay hydrated, move your body-stay active and forgive.” Unforgiveness and emotional upheaval affects our body’s immune system.
I found in research for my seminars—“Stop Being So Damn Mad!”—Ephesians 4:17-32 describes how the Holy Spirit is grieved and quenched; what brings judgement upon us—negative anger that refuses to be resolved. God gave anger as a gift—not negative anger, but positive anger which is framed by Ephesians 4:32. Positive anger has a plan to build.
Watching my heart and watching my mouth
© 2020 D. Dean Benton
The seminar series, Stop Being So Damn Mad! is published as Turn Back The Tirade available free during the pandemic at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/529403