Author Arthur Brooks delivered a powerful message during the 68th National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. He boldly reminded attendees, including prominent leaders in America, that God’s love is the answer in the “crisis of contempt and polarization” that is happening in the nation.
Arthur Brooks is a professor of public leadership . He is a senior fellow at the Harvard Business School who has declared himself as a “follower of Jesus.” In his opening speech, he said:
“[The same Jesus] who taught us to love God and taught us to love each other. Today, I’m here to talk to you about the biggest crisis facing our nation and many other nations today: It’s the crisis of contempt and polarization that’s tearing our societies apart.”
Then he stated, “In this crisis resides the greatest opportunity we have ever had as people of faith to lift our nations up and to bring our people together.”
Professor Arthur encouraged attendees to view the present crisis in a new perspective and “think differently.”
Love Your Enemies
The author of 11 books then turned to Jesus’ words from Matthew 5, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
He pointed out that those words from Jesus 2,000 years ago are still “subversive and counterintuitive” until today. However, the speaker continued, “we need to make the problem personal” in order to apply these words to the polarized society today.
“I want it to be personal to you on this day. Let me ask you this: How many of you love somebody with whom you disagree politically? Are you comfortable hearing someone insult that person that you love? Make it personal, my friends,” said the Love Your Enemies author.
Moral Courage And Contempt In America
Professor Arthur also highlighted the true meaning of moral courage. He said it means it’s “standing up to those with whom you agree on behalf of those with whom you disagree.”
He also talked about how contempt kills marriage. “Contempt is ripping our country apart. We’re like a couple on the rocks in this country. Don’t believe it? Turn on prime time TV … it’s tearing our society apart,” he said.
And he added, “How do we break the habit of contempt? Some people say we need more civility and tolerance. I say, nonsense. Why? Because civility and tolerance are a low standard.”
Answering Hatred With Love
“Jesus didn’t say, ‘tolerate your enemies.’ He said, ‘love your enemies.’ Answer hatred with love,” Arthur boldly shared in front of American leaders.
In conclusion, the respected author gave the audience pieces of advice:
First, “ask God to give you the strength to do this hard thing, to go against your human nature, to follow Jesus’ teaching. You believe Jesus’ teaching, act like it,” he encouraged.
“Ask God to take political contempt from your heart. Sometimes, when it’s just too hard, ask God to help you fake it.”
Second, he urged them to “make a commitment to somebody else to reject contempt.”
Then he added, “Of course you’re going to disagree … that’s what makes America great, it’s the competition of ideas. But do it without contempt. Ask somebody to hold you accountable.”
Finally, he left them with a word to “go out looking for contempt.”
“It’s your opportunity for moral perfection. Why? Because when people treat you with hatred and you answer with love, you change the country. It’s like being a missionary. This is your opportunity to show people what leadership is all about. Run toward the darkness, bring your light,” he further explained.
“When you leave this National Prayer Breakfast today, you’ll be back in a world with a lot of contempt. See it as your opportunity,” he told several leaders in America.
Mission Territory In America
At the end of his speech, he told listeners to imagine a sign above the door with words, “You are Now Entering Mission Territory.”
He concluded, “If you see the world, if we see the world outside the room as mission territory, we might just mark this day as the point at which our national healing begins.”
Source: The Christian Post