Friday, 23 September 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Yea, Though She Fall Into the Van

Douglas Wilson

The latest thing to take the Internet by storm, and the presidential campaign by storm, and the imagination of meme-makers everywhere by storm, is the video shot of Hillary Clinton collapsing into her vehicle. It was a moment filled with . . . moment, you might say.

Now of course our public discourse immediately began chundering all sorts of things in response to this, and so we are not lacking commentary on it. But I do want to say just a couple of things about all this that might be helpful to Christians.

Moments like this separate those who hate what Hillary Clinton stands for, and who want to oppose her as an evil woman, and those who are simply filled with spite and malice (for whatever reason). Those in this latter group may have begun their anti-Hillary careers innocently enough, but they are ending them filled with bile.

The responses therefore range from a thoughtful “this should be interesting” to a cackling schadenfreude. And then, on the other side of both of these, we have the indignant chiders and rebukers—those who want to say that this is the kind of thing we shouldn’t even notice. “It is not a policy issue, and anyway I thought you guys were supposed to be pro-life.”

Scripture has something to say to all of us in this.

“Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, And let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him, And he turn away his wrath from him” (Prov. 24:17–18).

The Bible flatly prohibits chortling about things like this. You may not. Thou shalt not. Do not let your heart be glad when she stumbleth, yea, when she falleth into the van. That’s plain enough. But what is the reason given? The reason is that if you think it is possible that the Lord might be in the process of taking out someone who is evil, you do not want to provoke Him into changing His mind through your unseemly behavior on the sidelines with the pom-poms.

In short, your reaction must not be carnal. There is a carnal kind of spite that is prohibited, and there is a carnal kind of sentimentalism that is prohibited. There is the malice that just erupts when someone you personally detest has something bad happen to them—and a lot of people on the hard right do not know what spirit they are of. But then there are the sob sisters over here on the kinda-right who do not know what spirit they are of either. They don’t know that the reason you are to guard your heart against petty spite is because God is the one who lifts up and who throws down, and we should want Him to finish the job.

Hillary Clinton has a lot to answer for. She really is an enemy of God. Our prayer should be that all enemies of His be destroyed. Our prayer in the first instance is for her, that she come to that destruction in repentance—for God-given repentance really is the true destruction of a sinner. But if in the providence of God, the destruction begins to unfold apart from any repentance on her part, our response must not be the kind of laughter or finger-pointing that marks malicious celebration, but rather the kind of fear that makes our ears tingle. Hillary’s Clinton’s life, down to the business of “managing” this story, has been a tissue of lies. Those lies are heaped and mounded, like a pyramid of wadded-up Kleenex, and our God is a consuming fire.

Neither spite, nor sentiment. The stakes are too high.

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