About 2,600 years ago, a Jewish writer and prophet set forth a vision for a just and godly society.
Among the factors that would make for such a world, Zechariah included these words of guidance: “Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. Speak the truth to one another, render judgments that are true and make for peace; love truth and peace.”
Twenty-six hundred years later, in the context of heated, divisive, arrogant and judgmental political debates and a growing distance between not only political parties but within the nation itself regarding a right-directed future, Zechariah’s words offer an urgent, healthy and righteous correction to the direction we seem to be heading.
What is called for is a movement where truth-telling trumps false witness and innuendo, kindness trumps hatred, mercy trumps condemnation and compassion trumps fear and denigration. Where care for the most vulnerable trumps policy positions that benefit only the wealthy, and actions that make for peace trump hardline threats of torture and war.
If we are indeed coming upon a fork-in-the-road moment in our national life together, the direction we choose matters greatly. Even Jesus acknowledges that every kingdom (nation) divided against itself is headed for ruin; no town, no household divided against itself can stand.
The importance of the right choice in future direction is far greater and wider than simply the upcoming election. It has to do with steps taken that clarify who we are as a people and what we want to be as a nation.
Zechariah acknowledges that the people he spoke to did not heed his encouragement. He writes that the people refused to listen, turned a stubborn shoulder, and stopped their ears in order to not hear.
As a result the land was left desolate. Heaven forbid we follow that same course.
Kim Latterell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.