Seldom in human history has the need to declare eternal truth in the face of evil been greater, and seldom has the temptation to do it without Christ-like love been more deceptively appealing.
That’s where we find ourselves. Evil is raging all about, and in our battle against it, we too often give in to evil ourselves. It turns out that in matters of right and wrong, you can’t fight fire with fire.
You don’t fight darkness with more darkness, you fight it with light.
And that’s where we are falling down.
As conservative America sees progressivism attack along the broad front of traditional values and American principles, as everything good and true seems to be under assault, the natural instinct to defend what is right can mistakenly lead us to attitudes and feelings ultimately as wrong and destructive as the filth we are fighting against.
It turns out you can’t do the right thing the wrong way, not and still be doing the right thing.
Here’s what I mean.
Much of traditional Americanism is based in the Judeo-Christian ethic and an unwavering focus on individual liberty. The tie between liberty and morality has always been a part of the American ethic. Not that we are a perfect nation or that we are perfect people, but that we have seen conscience as the best restraint on human conduct. Freedom must be limited, to avoid chaos, but that limit must come primarily from conscience, not government.
We have relied on a sense of right and wrong, and that sense has primarily come from our faith.
And in this day of darkness – where good is called evil and evil is called good – our faith and common sense are under unprecedented attack.
And we have responded with anger.
Which is where we are failing, where we are abandoning our faith, where we are falling for a temptation as evil as the wrongs against which we fight.
Because the Creator who endowed us with our unalienable rights also commanded us to love one another, and to treat others as we would want to be treated. He specifically required that we love our enemies, and pray for those who hate us.
He commanded us to avoid contention and enmity – while also requiring his followers to be the light of the world, and to always be ready to defend the things we believe with meekness.
That’s what God wants.
What the devil wants is for us to fight one another tooth and nail. He wants us pissed off and enraged. He wants us to see our neighbors and fellow citizens as enemies. He wants us to forget that we are brothers and sisters, fellow children of God and fellow citizens in a Republic. If he can’t bind us one way, he will bind us another, either tripping us up in his philosophy of folly or entangling us in our angry rejection of it.
So what do we do?
Fight ideas, not people. Condemn error, not each other. Call out evil, but still work to love the people who are advancing it.
That is not easy. But it is right. And it is the only way that this nation founded by God can be saved by God. If we call on Him to bless our land, we must follow the pattern He has shown us to receive that blessing.
Much is being asked of us.
In our time, the values of the ages are being overturned. The liberty of centuries is being debased. What it means to be an American – or a man or a woman – is being assailed and defamed. Fate has called us to defend right from wrong, truth from error, good from evil. These are tempestuous and troubled times.
But just as poisonous as these evil philosophies, is the harm that can come to our society and our souls if we give in to the rage and contention of our day. Anger and hate are the booby traps and landmines awaiting those of us who rush blindly onto the battlefield of truth.
Yes, we must fight, but we must do it right, and for the right reasons.
We must fight because we love our nation, not because we hate our opponents. We must be fighting for truth, not against people. We must be patriots, not partisans, and we must respect the humanity and freedom of those with whom we disagree.
Be meek, not weak. Be passionate, not rageful. Build, don’t destroy.
And remember that as the fight for freedom has always been God’s fight, we must do it God’s way – as unyielding in our love of neighbor as we are in our defense of liberty.