The events of yesterday, Wednesday, January 6th, will haunt us here in the United States for many, many years. The assault on our capital in Washington, D.C. was horrible to watch and struck at our hearts. We knew it was possible, but we really didn’t expect it to happen. This kind of thing is what happens in “other” countries, not ours! And yet, here we are.
As followers of Jesus, we Christians need to process this in terms of human sinful nature, and not in terms of partisan politics. This is not a “we versus them” issue, as though “our side” (whichever side that may be) would never do such a thing. This is simply a “we” issue. Because we are human, and humans tend to sin when left to their own devices. This is not a “left vs. right” issue; this is a “right vs. wrong” issue!
Whether the contributing factor is anger about perceived injustice (stolen election or widespread police racism), the underlying factor is sin. Justifying violence under a banner of self-righteousness is problematic at best. Yesterday’s actions, however, did not happen in a vacuum, nor did they happen suddenly, without context. Our nation, indeed our world, has been moving toward this for some time. And it all starts with words.
In America, we cherish our right to free speech, and rightly so. But with that freedom comes responsibility. The old adage “Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is just plain false! Words do hurt, and our choice of words matters. When we allow our baser instincts to vent publicly (on social media, or otherwise), using words that are meant to hurt (whether in the name of truth or not) we descend to our lower, sinful nature. Christians should guard their words (James 1:26), and speak only with words that help, heal or uplift (Ephesians 4:29). It is easy to blame others for their choice of words, while more difficult to recognize how we contribute to the climate of division with our own words (Matthew 7:3-5)!
The world is divided enough; we should not contribute to that division. The church of Jesus Christ should be a place of reconciliation, forgiveness and love. No matter what political party we belong to (and, perhaps, we should not belong to any political party), our first allegiance must be to Jesus and the Gospel of reconciliation and peace. Let us repent of any and all of our contributions to what happened yesterday (or previously), and let us begin anew to be people of Jesus’ party.
In the Peace of Christ,