In recent days, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis has been conducting various media interviews for his new book. In one such interview, when asked what the greatest threat to our nation is, he responded that contempt for each other was a far greater threat than anything from other rival countries. He said, in effect, that when we have contempt for others who think differently or believe differently than us, the capability of our nation to have a democracy ceases because democracy is dependent upon people working together in spite of their differences. Contempt is a slippery slope that inevitably leads to prejudice, anger, and hatred; contempt is also often just the result of either a lack of curiosity as to why others believe the things they do or an inability to maturely process disagreement. Thus, contempt for others is our own failure, not the failure of those we find contemptible. Paul wrote, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Today, if there are people that you hold contempt for, seek to understand them better and ask Jesus for the capacity to disagree with respect and love.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32 ESV