One of the things that leads to division, and therefore to violence, is the tendency we all have to view people as parts of a group, rather than individuals. Either a group we like which leads us to look the other way when people commit sins (and crimes), or a group we don’t like, which leads us to minimize or completely ignore the good they do, or to deny the legitimacy of their gripes. We need to break out of that way of thinking.
“The police” is not a person. It is a group of individuals, with individual strengths and weaknesses, frustrations, backgrounds, perspectives, likes and dislikes, and needs.
“The rioters” is not a person. It is a group of individuals, with individual strengths and weaknesses, frustrations, backgrounds, perspectives, likes and dislikes, and needs.
“Politicians” is not a person. It is a group of individuals with individual strengths and weaknesses, frustrations, backgrounds, perspectives, likes and dislikes, and needs.
Unless we acknowledge the individuality, the unique personhood, of those who disagree with us, we will never be able to understand the issues, and will never be able to solve them.
Here’s a major step we can take in that direction. Pray for our leaders, whether or not you like them. Whether they’re Democrats or Republicans. Whether or not you voted for them. Whether or not you think they’re doing a good job.
Our governor, Larry Hogan, has announced that he has a very aggressive, very advanced cancer. He says it is treatable and he hopes to be able to beat it. This should cause us to stop for a moment, say a prayer for him and his family, and reflect on the fact that he is just a man, with all the frailties that come with that fact. He is fallible. He is subject to sin. He is limited in his abilities. He has very real needs and fears. He is facing the possibility of his own death.
Do we ask too much from our politicians? Do we take enough personal responsibility for the quality of our own lives and communities? Or do we expect perfection from our leaders, never even giving a thought to the fact that they’re just fallible human beings, like us? Do we assume good will on their part? Or do we simply dismiss them as being corrupt, biased, and out for their own good?
Even if our worst assumptions about our politicians are true, how much more they need our prayers! They are, after all, human beings, loved by the LORD. The LORD died for them, too, and wants to save them as much as He wants to save you.
So put aside your personal opinions. Pray for our leaders. And say a special prayer for Governor Hogan and his family, that the LORD lay His healing hand upon Him, and give him the strength to carry on, and to perform his duties as governor with justice, charity, humility, and wisdom. And then pray for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, that the LORD also bless her with justice, charity, humility, and wisdom, and all other needs she may have in her personal life.