Watch Your Toes

I’ll say it again because I’m not sure anyone heard me the first time. I’m not going to be as diplomatic this time; so watch your toes.

Regardless of who you voted for, we have a new President, poised in the highest office in the land. This office and the person occupying it ought to have our unwavering respect. If the leader of our nation fails us with scandal or betrayal or incompetence, he or she has perhaps forfeit much of our respect, but there is a level of common decency that should never wane — a human level if nothing else.

I suppose many of my readers believe President Obama’s liabilities outweigh his potential contributions. That I can grant; but regardless, I believe it is crucial to our humanity, and thereby critical to our Christianity, to take moral high ground, to affirm the good, more than that, to look for it! We are to bring in the Kingdom. One of the ways we do this is by seeking out the image of God in others and affirming it, wooing it and drawing it out—sometimes through encouragement other times through loving exhortation. We are called to be creative and redemptive. Always. Seek the Kingdom of God. Seek and you shall find.

Obama Inaguration

Being sworn in with the Lincoln Bible.

I’m tired of hearing well-meaning people from my beloved state (and I mean that; I’m not being sarcastic) bash or belittle our President in one breath and in the very next breath attempt to present the gospel of of our Lord Jesus. I’m tired of hearing negative commentary about our President every time I turn around and never (I wish I were exaggerating) hearing anything edifying. If I do hear someone I know say something positive, it’s delivered in such a back-handed way, it’s worthless.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. If President Bush had made that gaffe about the Special Olympics, which we all know isn’t hard to imagine, we’d be defending him: “Oh, well, he shouldn’t have said that, but…” But because it slipped from the lips of a democrat — and we’re sore losers (republicans and democrats alike) — we’re indignant: “I can’t believe… blah, blah, blah.” And I don’t hear anyone give respect for President Obama’s quickness to apologize. We like that about Senator McCain, but ignore it in Mr. Obama. We are hypocrites. Everything President Obama does is disgusting to us because he’s overturned policy on abortion and stem-cell research, policy which I think is less black and white then we wish it were. I know people who refuse to even hear him speak. I know others who listen to his addresses only with ears perked up to pick on and put down the President and his administration.

I’m sick of it.

I will reissue my challenge. Let us avoid the temptation to attach ourselves to each and every small opportunity to boast childishly, “I told you so!” Let us not be people who delight only in pouncing upon the shortcomings of another so that we can proudly declare our right-ness, wearing our superiority like a badge of consolation. How petty. I don’t care if you think the honeymoon phase we’re in right now with our new President is annoying. What kind of bitter, love-less bachelor/spinster/married couple goes around vehemently tearing down and “grounding” newlyweds? So what if everyone is infatuated with Mr. Obama? If it really is something that will pass and wear off, let it pass and wear off. I’m not saying some of the inordinate infatuation ought not be tempered, but it should be done gently and lovingly, with generosity and perhaps even with a good dose of good-natured humor, not biting sarcasm. Our present attitude is one that shouts, “We won’t be caught in the snare of his charm. We’re not going to risk being made fools of! No. We are smarter than that.” It’s an attitude that whispers, “Everyone else is stupid.”

Rather let us be first to seek out the good and acclaim it! not to disregard or ignore negatives and shortcomings and wrongs and mistakes, but to keep balanced perspective. We would certainly be a better witness to a world that expects so little of us based on the bitter bile we normally spew. Let’s surprise them. They expect us to seek out the negatives. Let’s raise their eyebrows, turn their heads, and peak their interest by making use of the bridges of Common Grace which already exist rather than burning them down. And let’s take humble, patient, loving responsibility toward one another by encouraging others in the Body to do the same. Let’s be the change.

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