Our nation is in turmoil and people continue to react emotionally, but not always intelligently or respectfully. We have become polarized, overly influenced by agendized media, judgmental and intolerant of views that do not match our own. We no longer communicate on important issues for fear of offending others feelings or becoming the target of disrespectful belligerence. How is God honored in any of this? How is our faith and confidence in Jesus Christ on display?
For the past several years I have seen and heard so many things that do not encourage or build up, but instead criticize and tear down. Friendships are strained unnecessarily and God is not honored. Respectful dialogue is almost unheard of. What counsel do we hear from God’s Word?
James 1:19 - Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.
Before you speak or post on social media, let your words pass through three gates: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If your thoughts or words cannot pass through these doors, please take a breath and reconsider them.
Realize that, at times, our anger is selective. Others have proposed or done the same things without criticism, but now we are angry. Are we opportunistically outraged? Is it the issue, or the sudden implementation that troubles us? Pray for our leaders, be they in our church or in the government, that they might take the time to educate before implementing changes. The more we understand, the less we are threatened.
Philippians 4:8-9 instructs us: Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things... —practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Finally, a nugget of advice I received at a conflict resolution seminar several years ago: When people all around you are losing their minds, try not to join them.
Pastor John W. Fair