Gotta wait until after Sunday to post it, but I've got another sermon to deliver that is giving me some fear and trepidation. Got a few church members who are friends on Facebook and who follow this blog, so I can't post it yet even though it's done. They might decide to skip church since they know what's coming. ;-)
But here's a hint and a snippet:
Just about everyone knows what is happening this Tuesday. It’s election day, and if the experts are correct, voter anger will carry the Republican party to retake the House of Representatives and make substantial gains in the Senate. It’s a stark change from two years ago, when, once again, voter anger, carried the Democrats to win the White House and a super-majority in Congress. The prior election cycle, voter anger carried Democrats to win power in both the House and Senate, which they had not held since 1994. Are you seeing a pattern here?
In each of these elections, voter anger seems to be the key, and, with the exception of Texas (at least according to the Houston Chronicle), voters are angry. All you have to do is turn on the television to see it. Lines are drawn. Ideology reigns. Even though I believe most folks are actually quite moderate when it comes to how they would like to see this country run, it is the extremes which grab the headlines. You are either liberal or conservative. There is no middle ground. You are either for us or against us.
Can such anger be good for our nation? I mean, on the one hand, anger can be a tremendous motivating force. It can propel us to do the right things. It can give us the impetus to make a difference when we see things that aren’t right. For instance, the other day, Dawna and I took our kids to a park to let them run off some energy. While we were there, I witnessed something that made me angry. There was a little boy playing at the park who obviously had some mental issues. I won’t go into all the details, but he did several things that made it abundantly obvious that he suffered from mental illness. There was another kid at the park who was being absolutely merciless to him. I watched this other kid put the mentally challenged kid in a headlock and hurt him. Then, as the two of them were swinging next to each other, the kid went up to the mentally challenged one and without cause, hit him in the back.
Anger boiled up within me. I looked at him and said, "Do you really like being a bully?"
The kid was shocked. "I do it all the time at home," he said.
I looked at him and said, "That doesn’t make it right."
At least for the rest of the time I was there, the kid made no more moves to harm the mentally challenged kid. Anger can be a force for good.
But let me be quick to say, anger can be a force for good only if it is tempered and motivated by compassion. I think that’s what my anger was motivated by. I was angry because I had compassion on the kid getting picked on, and I think I was being compassionate on the bully as well. Bullies have to learn to curb their behavior or else they are looking at a lifetime of trouble. Perhaps I made this kid think for just a few moments–at least I hope so.
Unfortunately, I think much of the anger we are seeing in our society today is not driven by compassion...
Stay tuned for more.