It has become one of my favorite quotes, but that is not because it is easy.
Be egalitarian regarding persons. Be elitist regarding ideas. — Peter Kreeft of Boston College (from here)
The statement is simple, but the implementation is not. Only one person has ever satisfactorily carried it off.
John 1:14-18 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Word Becomes Flesh
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
As John said, He was full of grace and truth. Because He knows the Truth, He upholds the best ideas. Because He could forgive us, He offered us His grace and even friendship. We, on the other hand, can only do our best to follow His example.
We live in interesting times. Our world teeters upon the brink of tumult. Even our nation, once thought stable and still extremely powerful, looks more and more pitiful. And so we wonder what to do. What would Jesus do? What of His grace and truth?
How can we be full of grace and truth? We can strive to be egalitarian regarding persons and elitist regarding ideas. However, we must admit the difficulty. Consider the following, Who, and what, the tea party likes by Steve Hochstadt (suggested by phadde2 in this comment). Here is how it begins.
Tea party politicians don’t like people who are out of work. In Congress and in campaigns they consistently oppose paying unemployment insurance to the most distressed citizens, those who have been out of work for the longest time. A poll earlier this year found that 70 percent of Tea Party Republicans oppose extending unemployment benefits and 65 percent oppose raising the minimum wage, even though most other Republicans favor these policies.
They don’t like people who have suffered from catastrophic events beyond their control. Chris McDaniel, the tea party favorite who challenged Republican Sen. Thad Cochran in a Mississippi primary, said he didn’t know if he would have voted for federal aid to those people in his own state who were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, legislation that passed the Senate unanimously. (continued here)
If instead of pleasing people we seek the best ideas, some of those who disagree will shower us with hatred. Hence Tea Party activists must expect slander and libel. How should we react? As observed in Government Censorship/Party Censorship: Does it happen here?, responding in kind to such vitriol just takes us off topic. So it is best to just ask the undecided to give us a fair hearing and judge us on the issues, not the volume of our opponent’s slander and libel.
What else can we do? We can practice what we preach. We can be kind and fair to people who do not look or altogether think like us. Remember Faisal Gill? In 2007, Gill ran as candidate for the House of Delegates, 51st District. Gill is a Muslim of Pakistani descent. Most Republicans do not like Islam, but many saw Gill as a serious and competent Conservative who lived and campaigned honorably. So we supported his campaign. Although Gill lost a closely contested race, local Republicans still have no reason to fault their decision to support Gill. That is particularly true since this article came out: Feds Spied on Prominent Muslim-Americans, Report Claims. How many politicians could survive that level of scrutiny?
If we choose to live with grace we can forgive our enemies and confidently acknowledge our friends. If we seek the truth, beg for wisdom from God, we can enjoy the peace that comes from knowing we seek to do what is right.