You can sure tell we are in the middle of the election season. All you have to do is check on social media and you will see a lot of hateful things said by people on both sides of the political aisle. A lot of accusations are being made about things that people either say or do that many times are not proven to be factual. Words being taken out of context. Misinterpretation of statements. Unsubstantiated facts. Name calling. Not to mention rumors and downright lies. Where has civility gone? Where has the grace to agree to disagree gone? Where has general kindness gone?
I am not saying that we all have to keep quiet about our opinions. I am not even saying that we should stop debating issues. All I am saying is that ugliness, name calling, and vitriol never solves issues or helps us elect officials that will promote the progress of our nation.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” - Proverbs 25:11
To me this means the right word, spoken at the right time, with the right motive and attitude. As a Christian I have an obligation (and a command) for my speech to be “… alway with grace, seasoned with salt.” - Colossians 4:6
There is a paradigm that teaches us to “hate the sin but love the sinner.” So often we forget the second half of that paradigm. We jump in with both feet to hate on sin. We relish calling out other men’s transgressions. We march in disgust to protest evil. All the while we fail to love the sinner.
The Bible teaches us that men will know we are His disciples if we have love for one another. We would like to think that means love other Christians (at least those that act like it.) Deep down inside we know that is not the truth. Jesus loved sinners so much he died for them. Jesus taught us to dine with the lost so we can win them to the Savior.
And by the way sinner, just because I hate the wickedness you are doing doesn’t mean I hate you. I can disapprove of your actions fully believing they are morally wrong and still be your friend. And just because I disapprove of your lifestyle doesn’t make me a ________phobic. (You can fill in any number of words here) That word literally means I am afraid of your immoral lifestyle. We do not fear you, we fear FOR you. We believe there is a holy God that will judge the world one day. As a believer we feel obligated to warn you of that coming judgment.
I get the fact that you are offended that we speak our mind and intrude into your life. You might even tell us to mind our own business. Well guess what! It is not our business, it is God’s business. He created you for a purpose and that purpose is to please him - Revelation 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
So when we speak out against evil in the world we are really doing the business of God. Of course we need to speak graciously, kindly, lovingly, and fitly.
I would like to end by quoting a great theologian that most of you, Christian or not, would know.
“If you can’t say nothin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” - Thumper