We recently began the season of Lent. One of the practices most associated with this season is giving up something as an act of sacrificial discipline.
Some people give up chocolate. Others decide to watch less television and instead use that time for prayer and Scripture reading.
The goal of Lenten discipline is to be more fully conformed to the likeness of the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself for us.
After reading a recent op-ed by Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, I wonder if one thing we all might strive to give up this Lent is contempt.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “contempt” as “the feeling that a person or a thing is worthless or beneath consideration.” It is ultimately derived from the Latin word contemptus which means “to scorn or despise.”
Now, as Brooks wrote in the New York Times, contempt is not the same thing as strongly disagreeing with someone. Not only are strong disagreements inevitable, “disagreement helps us innovate, improve, and find the truth.”
The problem isn’t that we disagree, it’s how we disagree. Increasingly, disagreements today are characterized by a “noxious brew of anger and disgust,” which is directed not only at bad ideas but also at the people who espouse them.
This goes beyond incivility and rudeness. It even goes beyond intolerance. It’s the conviction that while your side “is driven by benevolence,” the other side “is evil and motivated by hatred.” It is, to quote to the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, “the unsullied conviction of the worthlessness of another.”
You can probably think of several examples of contempt directed at Christians. So can I. In fact, we often talk about them. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s contempt for Jack Phillips comes to mind, and thank God, they’ve now backed down.
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Source: Christian Headlines