The Better Angels of our Nature
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” – Colossians 3:12
The items on this list of human qualities seem in short supply this election year. More frequently we have seen a continual lowering of the bar of both the tone and language of political discourse. There is a coarsening of public talk on the news and social media. Spend a few minutes on Twitter and you will inevitably come across someone spewing hatred, fear, and bigotry.
The season upon us is one of name-calling, finger-pointing and fear-mongering.
I keep asking myself, “Is this who we are?” I don’t want to believe it.
The truth is, after Election Day we will have new leaders, but many of the same old problems of race and class and injustice will remain. We will still have public institutions that do not serve everyone equally. We will still have dying cities and crumbling infrastructures.
Inflammatory rhetoric will not solve these problems that affect us all, no matter what our political party.
On the brink of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln made an impassioned appeal to “the better angels of our nature.” We need to hear those words now.
God wants better from us, not to put away righteous anger or proper passion, but to model a way of living that treats others with respect and dignity.
Without that it is hard to see us moving ahead as a nation. As Dr. King once said, “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
Help us, O God, by your grace, to manifest the “better angels of our nature.”
Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. A writer and author, his most recent publications are Romans, Parts 1 and 2 (with Michael S. Bennett), new titles in the “Listen Up!” Bible Study Series. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.