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ReVision

Spite and Malice

The new Congress convenes today, and many across America are holding their breath.

Many, it seems, are of the opinion that the new Republican House of Representatives is going to save the nation from going broke. Well, the nation may not go broke, but it if doesn't, it won't be because of the 112th Congress.

Susie and I used to play a card game called, "Spite and Malice." I don't really remember how the game is played. All I know is that the way you win is by dissing your opponents at every opportunity. Can you see this setting up in the new Congress?

Already the Democrats - those epitomes of transparency - are accusing the Republicans of not being transparent. Incoming Republican committe chairmen, meanwhile, are talking as if they're going to investigate anything and everything that might rub salt in the wounds of their opponents across the aisle.

Democrats in the Senate are planning to change the rules about filibuster, since the Republicans have mastered the use of that tool like nobody's business. I wonder if the Republicans will filibuster the effort?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has declared his determination to make President Obama a one-term president. House Democrats have sent a letter to Speaker-elect John Boehner telling them, in effect, not to expect any meaningful cooperation from them on anything that doesn't fit their agenda. I thought they condemned the Republicans for doing that?

The national debt has grown $5 trillion in the last three years. For Congress, spending money the nation doesn't have has ceased to be a moral issue. Their biggest challenge seems to be to figure out ways of continuing this nefarious practice while, at the same time, blaming their colleagues across the aisle for the mounting debt.

What do we think, that suddenly the men and women of Congress are going to set aside self-interest, and their spite-and-malice attitude toward one another and really care about the nation and its future?

Sin is a blinding condition. It blinds us to the sins we commit even as it causes us to commit them. But when you reside among the ranks of the most powerful people in the country, sin becomes barely relevant. It is a condition that afflicts others and that you have risen to power to redress - in them.

OK, I'm cynical about Congress and politics in general. And you aren't? What to do?

I suggest, brethren, that we make prayer for Congress and the President a more consistent and fervent component of our daily time with the Lord. We can't help these people, and they're not about to help themselves - except, if they can, to more of our freedoms.

But God can help us. More, God can revive us. God can sweep through the churches and communities of the land and even the halls of county commissions, state legislatures, and Congress, bringing repentance, new life, and a renewed vision of one nation under Him. But He's not likely to do so without prayer. If you don't pray for Congress and the President it can only be because you don't believe they need it. Or you don't believe praying for them makes any difference.

Either way is a kind of spite and malice unbecoming a follower of King Jesus.

Additional related texts: 1 Timothy 2.1-6; 2 Chronicles 7.14; Psalm 80

A conversation starter: "Hey, whatsay we commit to praying together for Congress and the President?"

T. M. Moore

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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