As a Christian, forgiveness is always on my mind. I believe it rests there constantly because it’s the embodiment of Jesus. If the purpose of Jesus and his mission was to “save mankind” and “forgive” us for all the injustices we wage on a daily basis, than certainly it’s easy to understand why a Christian would be so obsessed with the concept of forgiveness.
I’m always struck by stories of people that have experienced tragedy, usually at the hands of another person, and yet are still able to forgive that person for the pain they have caused. I remember being moved to tears in High School by hearing the story of a New York City Police Officer who went weekly to visit with a youth in prison. The youth is serving a life sentence for attempted murder. The victim in this case was the police officer. The Officer, who almost died and is paralyzed after being shot by the youth felt it in his heart to forgive the young man.
These stories of forgiveness provide us with hope. We have numerous examples in scriptures of Jesus teaching us to forgive those who “hate us and to love our enemies.” I think I’ve become so overly interested in the topic because I so desperately desire to be like Christ. I often think that if forgiveness was Jesus purpose than in some ways forgiveness has to be my purpose as well.
This week has been one of intense political conflict. A leisurely scroll through my Facebook page leaves me wondering how our country has not yet broken out in full political civil war. Opinions, especially in regards to Judge Kavanaugh, his accusers, and politicians from both the left and the right, have been violently opposed. Middle ground, and in the case of sexual assault this seems appropriate, is really nowhere to be found.
I know that Judge Kavanaugh denies all allegations that have been put forth against him. I also understand that at least half, and maybe more, of the country believes his version of events. That’s only natural in a democracy. However, as a Christian, I wonder if a majority of the faith community has missed the bigger picture.
Reverend Franklin Graham, son of the legendary evangelist Billy Graham, has come out and confidently proclaimed that “any accusations against Judge Kavanaugh that occurred in High School are Irrelevant.” A Marist poll recently conducted found that over 50% of Evangelicals would still support Judge Kavanaugh even when asked if “There is overwhelming evidence that he committed acts of sexual assault.” Groups like Focus on the Family, and the Southern Baptist Convention, have all signed letters of support asking for Judge Kavanaugh to be appointed, regardless of the allegations pending against him.
As a Progressive I do not support the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. From his responses on issues like Workers Rights, to his support for unlimited corporate spending in elections, to his support of “federalism” for issues of health, sexuality, and civil rights, I believe he is unfit to serve. However, as a Christian, I believe the moral imperative is to stand with a growing majority of the country that believes morality must have a place in deciding who gets to sit on the Supreme Court. My faith tells me that the secular world, and not the Church, is correct in calling for his nomination to be rescinded, as a result of his questionable moral choices.
There are times, as a Christian, I have given a pass to the wider Evangelical community. I have many secular friends who ask “how can your Christian friends support President Trump after all the immoral things he has done in his personal life?” I usually respond by saying “I think most Evangelicals feel Trump isn’t claiming to be a Christian of high moral standing. They give him a pass because he still governs in a way that’s affirming of Evangelical values. Evangelicals know that Trump is a sinner, very worldly, but they feel his policies in the end reflect their values.” I believe that with Judge Kavanaugh this explanation is now morally reprehensible.
Judge Kavanaugh is one of several conservative legal professionals that President Trump can choose from. His support for overturning Roe V. Wade, Same-Sex Marriage, and other issues important to Conservative Evangelicals can be carried out by another justice that does not have the same “checkered past” as Judge Kavanaugh. Judge Kavanaugh is not the only choice that exists for those who wish to maintain “Traditional Christian values.”
There will be those who say “okay, but as with Trump we need Kavanaugh because he will vote the will of God.” To those who think this way I have a question. At what price does voting the will of god become too high? Does getting someone who will vote the way you “believe” God would have him vote, overrule how the world and those who need our moral example as Christians view our community? How can Evangelicals continue to advocate for God’s saving grace, while we consistently fail to be moral leaders?
I believe the accusers of Judge Kavanaugh but I also believe that he is a man in need of God’s love. King David in Psalms 25:7 begs God by shouting to heaven “Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways.” God will most certainly forgive Judge Kavanaugh for anything he did while acting like “a childish high school jock” as many of his Evangelical supporters say. However, as we can say in the stories of Moses, David, Saul, and others, God may forgive us but that doesn’t mean our past actions won’t come back to hurt us.
Since I’m a Christian I’m called by God to be a perpetrator of forgiveness. While I have no right to forgive Judge Kavanaugh on behalf of the accused, I hold no grudge or ill will towards him. I also hold no grudge against my fellow Evangelicals who support his nomination. I do pray that as a community Evangelicals remember that “one day in heaven is like a thousand years on earth.” Evangelical support for a political party, ideology, economic system, etc.. is a fleeting moment in the arc of godly justice.