Font Size » + | -By President Randall A. Bach The United States’ history is full of slanderous assaults and venomous personal attacks. In the early days of the republic, in 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr and former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton engaged in a duel as a conclusion to their long-standing, bitterly personal, and public feud. Hamilton, now celebrated as one of the brilliant minds in service to President George Washington, died from his wounds at the young age of 49. Burr lived until age 80, but he was reviled the rest of his days. Thankfully, our officials have moved beyond settling disputes via duels! However, with the availability of the Internet and other media, we have become skilled at character assassination. Our bitterly contentious political atmosphere is like a poisonous stew on which we regularly feed. Our most recent presidential campaign caused many Americans to groan over the depths to which our discourse has fallen while other Americans relish wallowing in and throwing the mud of personal attacks. Is there no time or place for washing off the mud and cleaning up? Apparently not. What about Christians? How are we to function in and interact with a nation where personal attacks and condescension seem to have become a way of life? Not by adopting the same cavalier and haughty attitudes and scalding language exhibited by many people even if we are in political agreement with them! Regrettably, that is happening. In some cases it is infecting churches, blinding us to our most important mission. If we embrace and model the caustic tone and words of our culture, we will put politics before our witness for Christ. I believe it is time for American Christians to prayerfully review who we are in relation to our heated political culture: • We cannot allow ourselves to become reduced to political animals, feasting on and devouring political enemies. When Jesus’ disciples began jockeying amongst themselves about who would be the greatest and who would have the premier positions in heaven, Jesus lovingly rebuked them: “But among you it will be different” (Luke 22:26). We are further instructed to be kind to each other (Ephesians 4:32). • We cannot allow ourselves to fall into the personal attack language that engulfs our nation with the objective of demeaning and destroying people with whom we disagree. We should not forget what our mothers taught us: “Just because others say and do those things does not mean you should.” We are instructed in Romans 12:18, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” • No matter how much we believe in a cause and are compelled to speak for righteousness, our objective cannot be to inflame and diminish opponents. Proverbs 15:1 instructs us, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” We need to ask for and allow the Holy Spirit to control our attitudes and tongues. • We must rediscover and model the kind of strength the Apostle Paul advised, “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14). That verse is not in conflict with itself! We are commanded to be like salt, which preserves and enhances food’s flavor (Matthew 5:13), not spicy like pepper. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). *Scriptural quotations are taken from the New Living Translation.