“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” (James 3:16 )
There is a remarkable woman in United States history, Jeannette Pickering Rankin. She was the first woman to be elected to the House of Representatives, which in its self singles her out. But she was also one of 50 representatives who voted against the resolution for entering World War I and the only vote against the resolution to enter World War II. This is not to say she stood against or voted against all actions and resolutions that supported actions of war. But she seemed to have established a reputation of seeking alternatives to war. It is no surprise that she was not popular “on the hill.” That quote that is used for this day is from her, and it reflects the sentiment of rejecting war as a means of setting differences and disputes.
Rankin also strongly believed in the suffragette movement and supported funding and initiatives women’s and children’s health. She was also active in several peace movements. In fact, for most of her life she supported service and self-sacrifice for causes of peace and the greater good.
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. “ (James 3:17-18)
She died in May of 1973 at the age of 92. I have to wonder what she would have thought of our society today and the involvement of the United States in the political affairs of other nations in the last 37 years. I am sure she would agree that most politics is rife with envy, selfish ambition, disorder, and evil practice. But it need not be. There are many politicians who serve because they want to work for peace, justice, and fairness for all people, here and around the world. It’s just hard to pick them out from the rest.
We who are not politicians can serve also; we can serve the purposes of wisdom, peace, mercy, righteousness, and compassion. May you gentle reader look to our heavenly God and seek role models who emulate the traits of shalom.