Do you need to adjust your attitude? Over the last four years I have seen so many hateful things – many of them coming from people who profess to be Christians. Personal attacks, calls for armed insurrection. Attacks on people of both parties who are our elected leaders. Attacks like this make me sad because I believe we can disagree with someone’s politics without hating them as a person. Vilifying people because of their political views is not what God calls us to as a person.
Throughout my life, I have encountered many hate-full people. They feel the need to attack anyone who is different or who doesn’t agree with them. They spew filth and fling hate and then sit in their pews on Sunday morning thinking they are the redeemed. As a pastor I couldn’t understand people who would come on Sunday morning and be angry with me all the way through the service. They were not worshiping God. They were so caught up in anger, hate, and unforgiveness that they were incapable of hearing words of grace or love.
When we encounter people like this, it is tempting for us to respond in kind. A quote attributed to Gandhi goes, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Returning evil for evil just creates more evil. Instead, we need an attitude adjustment that will help us turn the world to Christ.
Jesus told us to “turn the other cheek.” This is not a wimpy thing to do. It takes great courage and faith. When we turn the other cheek, when we return love for evil, we are taking a stand for Jesus Christ that is more powerful than the hatefulness we see around us. The change has to start with us, with our response to hatred and evil. When someone treats me in a hateful way, I do the best I can to love them as Christ would love them. In fact, I go out of my way to treat them in a loving and sweet way. I try to remember that anyone with that much anger can’t possibly be happy and they are trying to make my life miserable too. Instead, I refuse to be sucked into their misery. Granted, I don’t have to live with someone like that so it is easier.
We can’t change others but we can adjust our attitude toward them.
A woman once complained to her pastor about her father-in-law who lived with her and her husband. She was a new Christian and her resolution to be nice to the father-in-law was tested every day. She told her pastor, “He’s the meanest, orneriest, most foul-mouthed man you will ever see. What can I do?”
The pastor asked her, “what is something that your father-in-law likes?”
“Fudge,” the woman responded, “He likes fudge.”
“Then make him fudge.”
The next time the father-in-law was being abusive, the woman very calmly went into the kitchen and got out ingredients for fudge. Later, she served it to her father-in-law. He looked at the fudge, then he looked at his daughter-in-law. Then he bowed his head as he asked her to forgive him for being a mean and ugly old man.
Do you know some mean, ornery, foul-hearted people? Make them fudge. Adjust your attitude and maybe you can change their world and yours.