I said something to a colleague a couple of weeks ago and it has been haunting me ever since. It isn’t a new concept but I’ve never articulated it the way I did this time and it has been rattling around my head ever since.
I told this colleague: “…My goal is that those I work with at the Statehouse who are not ‘believers’ would know that I care more about them than any issue I’m working on.”
When you consider Jesus’ call to love God AND love your neighbor (the sum of the law), this seems obvious, doesn’t it? It’s much harder than it sounds.
Most of us who work at the Capitol, on “social issues” especially, are very cause-oriented people who are extremely devoted to the issues we work on. For example, I believe meaningful Ed reform can’t happen without universal school choice and a dramatic diminishing of public school interest groups’ influence. I also believe with my whole heart one of our greatest weaknesses as a nation is our willingness to kill 50+ million babies in the womb in the name of convenience, some fabricated “right,” or pain avoidance. I work for two clients that share my passion for these issues.
What I’ve observed over the years is that it is too easy to get so emotionally engaged on the issues and advocating for them that you forget about the lobbyist, citizen, or legislator that may be opposing you with an equal amount of passion. We frequently either demonize them in our minds or dismiss them as “the opposition.” we allow ourselves to believe the lie that they deserve something other than love. How can we fulfill Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbor and even our enemies if we allow anything – even our passion for a good cause – overshadow our role to love the person who may be advocating against us?
We must be aggressive in our jobs and effective in our advocacy for justice. We must, first and foremost, love our neighbor. If a lobbyist or legislator doesn’t think I care about them, how can I effectively advocate and why would I expect God to bless my efforts? How will they see Him if I don’t reflect Him in my interactions with them? Can I not reflect my anger at injustice and also make it clear I love them?
If those who work in public policy or politics can love their enemies, so can you.