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RENJE: It’s Not What You Say, But How You Say It

Most of us as children were taught that it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

Growing up, and now even as an adult, I’ve learned this lesson more times than I care to count. But finally now, at the ripe old age of 42, as I’ve grown as a Christian with a lot of help from the Lord, and my wife, I’ve sort of, kind of, learned how to speak truth in love, sprinkled with grace and respect.

For someone who has an interest and fuses political, social and faith issues, it can be a tricky balance.

As a conservative Christian, I think every believer should ask the question, are you known more as a conservative (Republican) first or a Christian? And as someone who listened to right wing radio for years but hasn’t done so in the last five or six years, I think the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity should be taken in very small doses, if at all.

Most rely on stirring up anger and bitterness among their followers, which fuels their ratings, and none of it is Biblically rooted. Which brings me to another question for every believer — How much time do you spend listening to right wing radio as opposed to reading, listening to and studying God’s Word?

There’s nothing wrong with being passionate about our views and beliefs, but we must resist the sinful urge to ever react out of anger, which is what concerns me about the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party and what harms the overall brand — the often over-amped rhetoric we hear.

While I agree with the faction on its politics, I often disagree with its tactics. As “Christian conservatives,” we need to not give in to the same type of anger that led to all the vile name-calling that came from the progressive left which we despised when President Bush was in office. We need to either believe that God is in control and sovereign or we don’t. And if we believe it, we don’t give in to anger.

We stand on principle and don’t compromise but we do so by trying to be respectful. We’re called as Christians first to walk as Jesus did — principled but controlled and loving.

A good Biblical example is found in the book of Daniel, where he and his friends never compromised their beliefs and values, yet were respectful of their political leader (King Nebuchadnezzar).

They resisted bitterness because they trusted God and His sovereign Word and Will.

They didn’t agree nor even always obey the King, yet they handled themselves with wisdom and tact.

Ultimately, because people hadn’t grown tone deaf to them because of over-the-top disrespect — as so often is the case today — they were able to eventually speak out boldly, with confidence and had an impact on the religious, political and social order around them.