We live in times where it is easy to vilify those we disagree with. This goes for people or leaders who we disagree with. Think of how we read our newsfeed.
It is easy to think the worst of people who we disagree with. It’s easy to desire the worst; to want them to do poorly. But we’re not called to do the easy thing but the harder thing. Love for others is, in part, desiring the good for them. Even if you think they’re off base. Even if it feels as though you (or your “side”) has lost to them.
Consider this reaction to the election of a leader:
I didn’t vote for him but he’s my President, and I hope he does a good job.
—John Wayne (b. 1907) on the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960
And then consider this reaction:
I hope he fails.
—Rush Limbaugh (b. 1951) on the election of Barack Obama in 2008 (Source of quotes)
Which reaction shows most confidence, graciousness, courtesy, and maturity? Or to put it in more strictly theological terms… love? Love, after all, seeks the good of the other with no thought to pride of self. Love seeks all things. That kind of love is neither sentimental nor easy to accomplish in real time.
The harder thing is gracious and rises above pettiness. It seeks the common good and desires what is best – even for an idealogical opponent. In times like these, perhaps, we need this reminder more than ever.