By Hal Lindsey
America has a long tradition regarding new presidents. Their arrival in office is accompanied by a spirit of goodwill in Washington and the country. We call it the “honeymoon.” It once last for several months after the inauguration. But in recent years the honeymoon has been getting shorter and shorter. President-elect Donald Trump didn’t even get through the night of his election before protestors took to the streets.
Only in the days leading up to the Civil War was America this divided. But even then, the discourse was rarely as angry and inflamed as today. Compare the Lincoln-Douglas debates with this year’s debates and you’ll see what I mean. Lincoln and Douglas disagreed. They jabbed at one other. But they also spoke respectfully.
You might answer, “Yes, but these are different times.” And that’s my point.
Proverbs 15:1 begins, “A gentle answer turns away wrath.” (NASB) But today, millions of people don’t want to turn wrath away. They want to further inflame it. They prefer the second half of Proverbs 15:1 — “But a harsh word stirs up anger.”
For internet trolls, it’s like a game where there are no fouls. They urge people to kill themselves. They zero in on whatever makes a person different from them — anything from weight to race to region of origin. With demonic hatred, they do all they can, not just to win an argument, but to destroy the person they’re arguing with. But while they do great harm, they are a mere symptom of a far bigger problem.
Every cosmopolitan nation on earth, including the United States, is shattering in slow motion. It’s like a glass hitting the floor, but so slowly that we can see each crack begin and grow into a full break. And we see it from inside the glass. Everywhere we turn, we see the shattering and breakage.
Jesus said that in the last days, “Nation will rise against nation.” (Matthew 24:7 NASB)
As I’ve said before, the Greek word translated “nation” is “ethnos,” from which we get the word “ethnicity.” Jesus is speaking about fighting among people groups. On all sides of every racial divide, we’ve seen a massive rise in bigotry over the last five years. But it isn’t just race. Everywhere you see a division today, it tends to be deepening.
The educational and entertainment establishments seem determined to exacerbate the problem. They teach everyone, especially the young, to constantly be on the lookout for what they call “microaggressions” against them. It can be a microaggression to look at someone; or to not notice them. A smile can be a microaggression — as can a frown or a neutral facial expression. Young people are taught to take any statement or question about race or gender as a microaggression. They are also taught to consider people not mentioning race or gender as a microaggression.
This puts everyone in a lose-lose environment, especially the person who has learned to perceive everyone as against him. We are brainwashing people into paranoia. It is the new way of keeping women and minorities away from success, and making them miserable in the process.
One of the worst aspects of the emphasis on microaggressions is the damage it does to friendships. Friends engage one another in conversation. We don’t carefully prepare press releases to tell our friends what we think. Yet, in this environment, even professional writers struggle to prepare statements that people looking for microaggressions won’t pick apart.
If that’s true of carefully crafted statements by professionals, imagine what it does to off-the-cuff conversation. Without conversation, what happens to friendship? And without friendship, how can we meaningfully cross ethnic and other human divides?
So, here we stand in the middle of a glass as it impacts the floor. We see new fault lines form in every direction we look. Hatred, fear, and rage are shattering the world. What do we do?
We do what Jesus said to do. We love.
In John 13:35, He said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (NASB)
The best testimony of Christ’s love in your life is an expression of that love to someone else. The world may shatter along the lines of various people groups, but believers in Jesus must not — not even a little.
When Paul talked about the unity in Christ between believing Jews and believing Gentiles, he gave a lesson regarding all potential fault lines among believers. “He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.” (Ephesians 2:14 NASB)
If you’re angry with Christian brothers and sisters who voted against Trump — or with those who voted for him — please stop a moment. Pause. Forgive. One person’s conscience dictates one thing, and another person’s conscience says something else. Be loving!
I call these articles “Watchman Warnings,” based on the scriptures that speak of the “watchman on the wall.” That’s what God has called me to. Here is my warning: don’t allow Satan to infect you with anger or paranoia.
Heed the words of Jesus in John 15:12. “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” (NASB)