My high school football coach was, and is even as his mind fails him, a great man. If you read that brief bio linked you’ll see an undefeated team in 1974 – my senior year. We were very good and in that season Coach Bishop, also a devout Christian, taught me about compassion. Conference commitments being what they are we met two opponents that year that were hopelessly outmatched. Going into halftime in both games they were scoreless and we had 30 or 40 points. In the locker room Coach did not tell us about how good we were; he did not congratulate us. Instead he told the starters they were benched for the duration and pulled every eligible JV player he could find out of the stands and told them to suit up. His statement was direct, “These teams will not lose by more than 50 points; we will not humiliate them any further.” His reaction to our overwhelming victories was compassion. Forty years ago and I remember those two half time locker rooms with great clarity.
I’ve been thinking about those games a great deal as I have watched P.A.T.T. inflict so many across the nation. The demonstrations, protests, riots, and even Chuck Schumer’s lying, are the flailing of the utterly defeated. And while we should not give up our victory, we should avoid humiliating our opponent – it is the compassionate thing to do. On a political level, much of the inexplicable nature of the current situation can be explained by the humiliation that Obama’s administration heaped on our heads. If we offer similar humiliation, we risk similar reprisal. But moreover, we are the people that practice our politics in the reflection of God’s image, and as Coach Bishop taught me those decades ago that image includes deep, deep compassion for the vanquished.
Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.
We can do no less.
As a highly reluctant Trump voter it is easy to tap into some level of empathy with those suffering from P.A.T.T. Ultimately, my vote for Trump lay not on Trump, but on reliance in God’s providence. I do not know what God is planning, but I do know the situation made it plain He was busy – my job was simply to go with the flow and let Him do whatever it is He is doing. I cannot tell you how many times I have repeated Proverbs 3:5-6 to myself:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
I realize that our friends with P.A.T.T are not listening much and they would deny the validity of our empathy if we tried to express it. There is little we can do about that. But we cannot let their recalcitrance move us off of our compassion. We need to leave them with the same words Jesus left us with:
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
Yeah, I know, Sean Hannity, but his source is unimpeachable.