The Politics of Personal Destruction

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire. Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.” Daniel 6:3-5 NLT

Power. Jealousy. Status seeking. It not just part of politics, it seems to be part of the [fallen] human nature. When someone else has what you want, the natural inclination is to discredit or destroy the person who has what you want. Abel had favor with God, so Cain killed his brother. Daniel had esteem and a position of power, so others tried to find fault and a reason to accuse him to the King.

Jesus was a threat to the Jewish leaders, power and influence. So the Jewish leaders worked to discredit Him and set traps for Him. We see the Pharisees effort to “set Jesus up.”  We read in Luke 6 an account when Jesus was in the synagogue, a man was there with a withered hand, “The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath.” (Luke 6:7 NIV)

We also read, “Later they [the religious leaders] sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words.” (Mark 12:13 NIV)

Finding fault. Catching people “in their words.” “Setting someone up” to see how they respond. It is the environment of today’s political world. I had just read Daniel, when I was reading an article about the nomination to the Supreme Court of Brett Kavanaugh. These words caught my attention, “Democrats, lacking a realistic way to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation are digging deep into his history on the federal court and in the Bush White House, hoping to uncover something that can damage his image or perhaps secure the  opposition [of other Senators]”

I also saw a news report about a CU law professor who is running for Attorney General in Colorado being surprised about the presence of a “tracker” in his meetings. These individuals follow campaign events of candidates who really are there to spy on the candidate to find something they can use against the candidate. They are there to “catch the candidate in their words.”

As a candidate for office and even an office holder one needs to remember, “just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.” An elected official or candidate is constantly under critical eyes and ears of the “loyal opposition.”

I found out how true this is when comments I made in large meetings and small were later brought up in an interview or twisted and misapplied. What was surprising was how people justified their actions rather than admitting it was just political distortion and misrepresentation. They need to remember Paul’s words about himself, “My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.” (1 Corinthians 4:4 NLT)

In my second term in the State House I served on the House Finance Committee. For weeks after the election there was a camera on a tripod, focused on me. It was so obvious that one of my democrat colleagues, lean over and asked me why the camera was always pointed at me?

I recently discovered more charges against Jack Philips of Masterpiece Bakery. He faces ongoing assault and accusations because of his religious convictions. Just like Daniel of old, even though he has no political position or power, there are those who seek an opportunity to discredit him and to advance their political agenda by accusing him for the application of his religious beliefs he applies in his business.

As I consider these issues it helps me understand the importance of the words of Peter, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12 NIV)

Later in his letter he encourages believers with these words, “Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.” (1 Peter 3:16 NLT)

At times false accusations and distortions of truth can lead to a political loss or hardships. But in the end if we seek to please Christ and “keep our conscience clear” we “win the prize” that matters the most.