What the heck is wrong with some people?

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Recently it was announced that the President and his wife, as well as a number of associates, had contracted the coronavirus. Immediately, people all over the country, some famous, most not, erupted in an orgy of gleefulness. Some even expressed the hope that the President would die.

What the heck (and I only use the word “heck” because this appears in a family publication and language left over from the Marine Corps is inappropriate) is wrong with these people? Seriously.

I understand that many people in America are either immoral or amoral. I have very little expectation of these people. They have no guiding compass, nothing to center them morally except for their own opinions or the influence of others. But most other people at least pretend to strive toward goodness.

People, however, on both the Left and the Right, seem to have entered into something like a moral landmine field. While it’s some on the Left hoping the President will die, there were also some on the Right who wished the same for the previous President. This kind of attitude is reprehensible, whoever expresses it.

I have said for years that, “Dogs bark, cats meow, cows moo, and sinners sin. It’s in their nature.” But what really troubles me are the alleged Christians who espouse this attitude and rejoice in the suffering and hoped for death of another human being. So, it is to these people that I address this question: “What the heck is wrong with you!?”

In Luke 6:27-28, Jesus teaches the disciples and the words and phrases he uses in this passage are these: “Love, do good, bless, pray, don’t retaliate, give, do, be merciful, do not judge, do not condemn.” He also says that “For the measure you give is the measure you get back.” In other words, we will reap what we sow. This declaration is echoed by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 6:7-8. Whatever comes out of your mouth, your mind, or your heart, is coming back to either bless you or bite you.

This destructive and ungodly behavior didn’t start with the 2020 election cycle. It didn’t even begin with the 2016 election. Christian believers have always had trouble with reigning in their mouths. Every pastor and most church members have felt the sting of gossip and slander. Some of the cruelest and most unkind people I met in my early years of ministry were on church boards. Gossip, a sin of the heart and mouth, is, in my estimation, is worse than adultery because it devastates so many innocent people.

Most Christians control their behavior to a certain extent but many exercise little control over their attitudes or their words. What this election season has done is to merely reveal what is already resident in a person. Christians, of both political parties, are literally cursing candidates. I have had to unfriend or unfollow a number of people on social media I know simply because of the hate they spew on their pages toward one candidate or another.

The law of sowing and reaping is universal. It is a neutral law, neither only condemning nor only rewarding. It simply states that whatever grows is totally dependent on the seed. And while an agricultural image is used, it also pertains to spiritual and temporal matters. If one rejoices in the misfortune of others, if one is delighted when someone is sick, if one wishes harm to another, or hopes a person will die, that person is sowing the seeds of his or her own destruction.

I never pray for justice as it pertains to me personally. I have long ago concluded that life is not fair and that is something all people deal with. Why do I not pray for justice? Because if I truly am honest with myself, I am deserving of divine justice for all the wrong I have done (and still do) and I really don’t want that. So, I pray for mercy and try wherever possible to dispense mercy, because I am continually in need of mercy.

God’s will for each person, according to the Book of James, is that we be “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” The enemy of our souls, however, has a different agenda. He comes only to “kill, steal, and destroy.” Sadly, a fairly significant number of God’s people are providing him with ample ammunition.

Look, I am well aware that the current president of the United States has “issues.” He did not conduct himself as a gentleman in the 2016 debates and few would accuse him of being a nice guy to everyone. Some would suggest that he, too, is reaping what he has sown. That may be very true.

But, unless I am terribly mistaken, the President doesn’t read these columns and I have no influence over him at all. I may have no influence with anyone but I fear for people — especially of my own religious clan — when I see them, sowing the seeds or their own spiritual (and possibly mental and physical) destruction.

The point is this: If you are one of those angry people, religious or not, and you rejoice when others are humiliated, or think it humorous when people are called names and denigrated, or are happy when misfortune visits others, then look out. Bad things are coming your way.

If you can’t get on social media without getting in some kind of food fight with someone or come away from the computer or phone without being angry, depressed, or stressed, you might ought to take a break from social media. Besides you aren’t going to change anyone’s mind and you just might lose yours.

Here endeth the lesson.

[David Epps is the Rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King (www.ctk.life). During the crisis, the church is live streaming at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays at http://www.facebook.com/cctksharpsburg/ He is the bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-South He may contacted at davidepps@ctk.life.]

16 COMMENTS

  1. Trump actually saved millions of lives by shutting down China flights early, and then he was called a racist for doing so. You had Pelosi going to China town and eating to show that she was not racist. Then the Dems said he wasn’t doing enough a month later. Then he shuts down European flights…and they said he is over reacting. This country was left with a shortage of ventilators by Governors (its their responsibility to budget for them). Cuomo actually rejected funding more ventilators in years past. Trump ratcheted up the production…

    Easy to be a Monday morning quarterback.

    • And we had a shortage of personal protection devices because the government’s reserve stockpile was depleted and sent overseas (Where is question #1) and (by whom question #2).

      Answer #1 is a large country and answer #2 is a recent presidential administration.

    • On March 11, he announced all travel from Europe (except UK & Ireland) would be suspended and the restrictions would not apply to US citizens, legal residents, or their families. On March 12, it was also announced that all US citizens arriving from Europe would be subjected to testing and quarantine (if necessary), despite not having the testing capacity to do so. From Feb 2 to April 4, nearly 40,000 traveled from China to the US since the restrictions didn’t apply to everyone and flights from Macau and Hong Kong were not included in the initial “ban.” Oops, how did some of those facts get in there?

    • How about his son Baron Trump who just tested positive. Any tears there Henry? Got any kids?

      Please list Trump’s incompetent decisions next to what Biden would have done on the same issues if he were in charge – if you know.

      • We knew that this was serious in January. Epidemiologists were looking at the data coming from china and realized this was serious. By the end of February we saw what happened in Italy and Spain. He could have rushed testing through the FDA, organized a national response so that supplies got where they were needed in an efficient manner instead of having states in bidding wars for supplies. He contantly undermined Dr. Fauci, there was the whole hydroxychloroquine disaster. Biden wouldn’t have been that much better but at least he would have listened to people who study diseases for a living.

        • You have to admit that Trump shutting down travel from China (in January) in two days helped quite a bit. Direct question. Do you really believe if Biden were President he would have shut down travel from China in 2 days? Wait! Before you answer you have to think about who would be giving Biden political and health advice in a Biden administration.

          Bonus question. Let’s say Biden appointed his VP (like Trump did) as point person on the pandemic, what would VP Harris have done that Pence hasn’t done Or what would she not do or do later?

          And a somewhat rhetorical question – isn’t that the type of question that the press or even citizens in town hall meetings should be asking Biden or Harris?
          The answer would help us decide if he or she would be a better president than Trump, more so than some of the questions he has been asked.

          • It helped, to what extent IDK. We might have been far worse or just a bit worse, I’m not epidemiologist. 2 days from what? COVID was spreading in China from the beginning of the year, a lot of people at least in my circles saw the signs that his was the big one. Respiratory disease, transmits in the air, long incubation time so lots of time for people to move all around the world. I doesn’t matter what Biden would have done, that’s a pointless discussion because he wasn’t president. What’s done is done and Trump should be held accountable for his actions and failure to the american people.

          • C’mon Goya Bean Boy, it’s all about very poor leadership, lies about the pandemic and his reckless comments to the American public. There are numerous examples on this that would fill up a page here. Suffice it to say that instead of aspiring to gain results like S Korea did with the pandemic, Captain Covid was thinking of his own personal agenda much to the detriment to others and their families.

    • Hi Henry
      I suppose I’ll also jump in on this issue, too,

      -I think the present administration took events seriously.
      -Trump is probably lighter on his feet with a moving target like Corona because he comes from the business sector and would be better equipped to work with a changing situation.
      -I’m 67 so I’ve seen what long-term control by government does to it’s ability to be reactive and adapt to change.
      -Pence did a good job managing the response, as a former state governor me would be using better bi-partisan skills than Trump.
      -I fear that a Democrat would have reacted later, imposed longer more drastic measures such as lock downs and taken advantage of the situation to increase government over reach and further erode personal liberty and rights.

      Since I think you are a thoughtful person…and because you post so often with very clear opinions…I’d like to know more about you and how you arrived at your though processes.
      Quite often, I think, many individuals are poorly informed about our liberty, rights and personal responsibility in the USA.

      • One of my main issues with Trump’s response is testing kits. We developed our own test instead using the one that China ans South Korea had been using, so instead of stocking up on reagents for the test during February we were rushing to get the test approved. Resulting in a critical shortage in tests. The key to stopping out breaks is testing, being able to identify who has COVID and isolate them quickly before they infect anyone else. Trump in February said something along the lines of “it’s only a few people it’ll go away quickly” despite what we saw happen in China. If acted quickly and moved to get massive amounts of tests asap and set up support for people who have to quarantine, we could have a lot fewer cases and deaths. If we manage to keep COVID in check until the vaccine is rolled out, there is a real possibility that we can eradicate it completely. However, if we let it run rampant it basically will be with us forever like the flu after the Spanish flu 100 yrs ago. I think the government needs to serve the people and I think that includes paying people to say home when infected with COVID. Rushing to open to quickly is the worst decision we could have made, because we didn’t get the cases down to low enough numbers to prevent a second wave and we had the economic impact of lockdowns. Trump cut funding to the epidemic response team in 2018, and has been constantly undermining the CDC and Dr. Fauci.

    • Well Henry I suppose you are easily led to you own destruction if you don’t realize that true evil and wickedness exist in certain political and social groups.
      I can only say that others died so we may all enjoy freedom, liberty and the ability to live by our decisions, to use our talents to build a good life.

      I fear that your mind is now not your own, that you have allowed others to dilute your powers to understand truth.

      There are those who would make America worse…we should all want to make America more free, with liberty and justice for all….but you must first understand liberty and justice to know your mind.

      • “true evil and wickedness exist in certain political and social groups” This is true and the groups that they exist in are the far right groups like the proud boys.

        My mind is my own both parties put the interests of donors and lobbyists over the interests of their constituents. We’ve been in a war in Afghanistan for 20 years, sending people to die there for no reason, and both parties say they’ll bring em home but somehow there’s still troops over there. They mess with the tax code to allow rich people to get away with paying next to nothing in taxes. I don’t hate Trump for paying nothing in taxes because he’s just playing by the rules, any reasonable person would do that if they could. Congress has talked about tax reform and simplification for a long time, but never seems to get around to it.

        I could go on and on of how both parties have screwed over the working class in favor of the business elites.

        I don’t like Biden at all but when it comes to who do I want to have the nuclear launch codes, I would rather him than Trump.

        I wish Biden was the socialist radical that the attack ads make him out to be, but his whole campaign is based on nothing will fundamentally change. I think in the face of unprecedented human caused climate change and wealth inequality larger than the wealth inequality in France at the start of the French revolution, we need to make some fundamental changes because the system as it is right now is not working.

      • I try to follow Jesus, and love my neighbor as myself and treat everyone as my brothers and sisters in Christ. I don’t see that in republican party or the democratic party. As the catholic archbishop of brazil, Dom Helder Camara, said “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

  2. I believe you answered your own question, Father. The answer is social media, the question was what is wrong with some people. Social media isn’t actually the root cause, but it amplifies a tiny little random thought that most normal people would suppress. 20 or 30 years ago, you would hardly ever hear anyone express thoughts as you hear today. But today the ability to electronically respond to even a small group of people with whatever just popped into your head is addictive and may I suggest emboldening.

    An emboldened person who sees no repercussion or punishment from someone tweeting a wish about hoping the president dies now feels it is ok to say those or similar things out loud in addition to their social media contributions. That emboldenment feeds upon itself and causes even more bizarre and inappropriate statements with one person trying to outdo the other in some whacky contest to see who the baddest dude on the street is. Pointless? Sure. The whole Facebook exercise is also pointless, since it is exactly same thing with bragging and self-promotion replacing hatred and death wishes.

    As much as I despise government overregulation, I wish there were some standards or rules or something in place to calm the rhetoric as the Twitters and Facebooks were thrust upon us without warning. The gap between a 20 something college kid and a 50 or 60 year old lawmaker was never larger than it was over the past 15 or 20 years and most legislators simply gave up.

    If you want to go back even further, I remember when Hinkley shot Regan a co-worker said the same thing – “I hope he dies” My first thought was shock and then I wondered if anyone who heard that would report him to the secret service. Time sure changes things.

    Of course the guy that said that was similar to the “peaceful protesters”you see in the liberal cities as he was a bit scruffy in appearance, but creative with his housing. He thought apartment rent was too high, so he rented a large storage shed at the storage place on Fulton Court and lived there with cot, cooktop, small refrigerator and TV with rabbit ears – using free electricity from the overhead light fixtures they still have today. Supplemented with a health club membership for an occasional shower and bathroom needs he was all set for about $80 per month. It worked for almost a year.