Political pundit Charles Krauthammer once said that conservatives think liberals are stupid, but liberals think conservatives are evil. Based on what they tell me and from what I read, liberals believe conservatives are evil because they don’t show their compassion for illegal immigrants and their children, the minorities, the working class, the homeless, and all other people who seem to be struggling to lead a better life in our society. I am a conservative, and to rebut their accusation, we first should examine what compassion is really all about.
Compassion is defined as a pity aroused by the distress of others, with the desire to help them. Because conservatives are usually Republicans and the Republican Party is accused of being composed of wealthier people and people who favor the rich, there is also the implication conservatives are prideful people who are greedy and look down on people who are beneath their station in life; and that’s why we conservatives are presumed to lack in compassion for others less fortunate than we. In other words, since humility is a virtue that is defined as a lack of pride, we can assume conservatives are being accused of having no humility.
Well, I think our accusers are correct in connecting compassion with having humility, but they are wrong when they accuse conservatives of being prideful if those conservatives also happen to be Christians; and polls indicate that many of us indeed claim support for this religion. True Christians understand pride is a sin and that truly compassionate people cannot be prideful people. Humility indeed is the key virtue which motivates us to exhibit compassion. We know that pride must first be destroyed for us to have true compassion for others and only humility can do that for us.
In these challenging times of discord between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, atheists and Christians, the virtue of humility seems to be absent on both sides of the issues. We seemed to be stalled as a nation in getting our problems solved. Humility is not only the key to compassion, it is important in politics because it motivates our politicians to go beyond their pride and their own personal interests and compromise to pass laws that serve the greater good. This doesn’t seem to be happening in America’s contentious and divisive society.
Based on the tone of their accusations, liberals want to have us all believe they have a patent on kindness and compassion. When they portray conservatives as prideful people who don’t care about others, I’m offended because I’m a conservative and a Republican and that accusation is unfounded because I’m a Christian, and that’s not what we’re all about. Christianity emphasizes we are to follow Christ’s example to think of others as being less than ourselves and to treat them accordingly. Only in that way can we exhibit true compassion.
So, what is true humility? Dr. John Blanchard, a Christian teacher and director of Popular Christian Apologetics, in an article he wrote for Ligionier Ministries’ Tabletalk magazine, discriminates between false and true humility. “False humility invites attention to itself; true humility is unconscious.” False humility masks pride. True humility defeats pride.
As Christians, we know our purpose is to please God, and “true humility is the key to receiving God’s favor.” We aren’t as accountable to unbelievers who oppose us as we are to our God who expects us to be humble and to show compassion for all those less fortunate than we. The truly humble person “seeks only to serve others without either recognition or reward.” That’s how Christians are to act.
So, when liberals attempt to paint all conservatives as uncaring, even evil people, Christians need to remind their opponents they are Christians and take offense at being lumped in with their criticism of conservatives or Republicans. Many of us may indeed be conservatives and Republicans, but, first and foremost, we are Christians and take offense whenever we are unjustly accused.
So then, how are we to respond to accusations that conservatives and Republicans are evil if we also happen to be conservative or vote Republican? If we are a Christian, we should first clarify that Christianity is our religion; yes, we may also politically identify with being a conservative or a Republican, but it is our religious belief that takes precedent over our politics.
What does Christianity have to say about humility? In Philippians 2:3-8, Paul tells us that Jesus Christ put aside the glory of heaven, assumed all our suffering, and humbly submitted to His own execution; He humbled Himself so that others would be saved. That’s the gospel message, and we are to share it with our liberal accusers. We are also to demonstrate with our actions that we are obedient to Paul’s instructions: we are to have the humble and compassionate mind of Christ, and witness it to others, even those who believe we are evil because we are conservative.