These are the days of endless political ads on television. I am already weary of them, likely you are too. But more than being just weary, I really dislike that they routinely pick something someone said or did, often taken out of context, and then announce that in light of said action or statement the person running for office is totally good or totally bad. I suppose those who run these ads do so because they feed into our temptation to project all of our negative ‘stuff’ onto someone else, particularly those who we don’t like or who have a different perspective than we have. When we do this, we look at only the finer attributes of those we like and who see things the way we do.
Yet, Christians more than anyone else ought to understand that human beings are not only good or only bad. We are all saints and sinners, redeemed and fallen. We are capable of acts of greatness and behavior that shows how ‘little’ we can be. We can be compassionate, generous and kind. We can be hurtful, harmful and cruel. This is not simply something we profess only on Sundays. It’s a dual nature we carry in and through us throughout the week. This truth about our human make-up is something it is good to remember, and never more so than during an election cycle.
Consider this: in conversations with family, friends, and others, remind yourself and them of this complex humanity when someone suggests that someone is all good or all bad. Evaluate those running for office not by some false dichotomy, but by looking carefully into the complexity of who that person is. It is possible for someone to have done wonderful and dreadful things in the span of a life. This does not mean that anything goes because we’re all a mix. We are still accountable for the things we do that hurt and harm others. We need to discern if the less than admirable or ‘harmful’ stuff disqualifies someone who is running for office, or if it is all part of the normal range of humanness that includes admirable and not so admirable moments.
I realize that to suggest that we stand outside the polarizing environment within which we live may be asking a lot. But I am convinced we all have it in us to provide thoughtful reflection on our mixed nature during election cycles and throughout the year. Let us encourage each other in this endeavor. I am so grateful for you, mixed nature and all. And I am grateful that you receive me, mixed nature and all.