I Was Just Thinking About – ACRIMONY.
History is littered with many instances where acrimony brought about drastic situations and the loss of many lives. Acrimony is: “harshness, bitterness of nature, speech, disposition.” In my lifetime, this was seen in the acrimony of Germany (1930s) that led up to World War II. As the German acrimony and propaganda evolved, Jews, handicapped, Gypsies, deformed – all became victims of marginalization and extermination. In the 1950s and 1960s, acrimony continued that led to assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. While acrimony was headlined because of these leaders, there was also the deaths of Negro children attending Sunday School in a Church that was bombed in Birmingham, AL.
In our day, acrimony has once again surfaced and civility seems to be in the process of being obliterated. The rhetoric is becoming more heated in the political realm with a special focus on immigration and border control. Those who are attempting to maintain security for the nation are now the targets of criticism and harassment.
As it was in Europe during the beginnings of World War II and the racial tensions in the 1950s and 60s, the Church is silent. A prominent Protestant Pastor, Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) emerges as a voice - an opposition voice – of Adolph Hitler. In the effort to silence him, it resulted in his being confined to a Nazi concentration camp for seven years. It may be that he is best remembered for his heartfelt words: “First they came for the socialist, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”
There is a Biblical injunction that was given by the Mother of King Lemuel recorded in Proverbs 31:8-9, “Open your mouth for those with no voice, for the justice of all the dispossessed. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the poor and needy.” These verses are rendered in The Message paraphrase: “Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!”
Some are willing to plead ignorance and claim they either did not know or that it was none of their concern. However, Proverbs 24:12 (NKJV) reminds one: “If you say: Surely we did not know this, does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?” In the Amplified Bible, it is rendered: “If you [claim ignorance and] say: See, we did not know this, does He not consider it who weighs and examines the hearts and their motives? And does He not know it who guards your life and keeps your soul? And will He not repay [you and] every man according to his works?” In First Peter 4:11, God’s people are reminded: “If (when) anyone speaks, he should speak as one conveying the words of God. If (when) anyone serves, he should serve with the strength God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the power forever and ever.”
How do you feel about acrimony and the rise on incivility? If you unclear of what incivility is, it is defined as: “social behavior lacking in civility or good manners, on a scale from rudeness or lack of respect for elders, to vandalism and hooliganism.” Some synonyms are: “rudeness, discourtesy, lack of politeness, bad manners (ill-mannered).” When was the last time you were willing to address incivility regardless of any personal risk? Have you become accustomed to using the hackneyed rationale of: “Being wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove”? Is that what Jesus intended as he sent out His disciples to the acrimonious world of His day? If in doubt, the answer is: “No!” Risk is always present as one takes up his cross daily to follow Jesus Christ.
Prayerfully – consider these things with me.