I Was Just Thinking About – CIVILITY.
With the existing turmoil in the world, some politicians hoping to gain support from the public are now speaking about civility. Their statement is usually generalized and not defined. The basic meaning is: courtesy and politeness. IS the culture of our time capable to implement even the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you? When I was a child, that rule was modified to: Do in others before they do in you. That’s almost where we are in today’s political and cultural climate.
It is observable that the influence of the Gospel and the teachings of Jesus Christ have been ignored and disregarded by many. In a very basic and general way, WHAT IF it was possible to have the people of our day embrace the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-10 (ESV)? A beginning place could be – should be – being meek; hungering and thirsting for righteousness (and justice); being merciful; being pure in heart (motives and behavior); being a peacemaker (having a goal of cessation of strife and implementing greater unity)?
WHAT IF, after reciting the Lord’s Prayer in a ritualistic structure (Matthew 6:14-15), there was adherence to the words of Jesus that follows: “If you forgive others their trespasses (sins and faults), your Heavenly Father will forgive you, but if you do not forgive others…neither will the Heavenly Father forgive you”? Why is there perennial resistance to those things that result in harmony rather than discord? Why is the Church failing in these emphases in terms of faith and practice commitment and lifestyle? Why is it that many (most) devotional writers and their posts underscore the practical applications of the teachings of Jesus and Scripture? Why is a passage, such as Romans 15:7 (NIV), “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” absent from one’s practice?
WHAT IF the Christian Community implemented the teaching of Ephesians 4:30-32, a checklist of minimal behavioral requirement and expectation, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you”?
WHAT IF the professing Christian set aside his/her animosity toward people; readily set aside their grudges; abstained from gossip and negative speech about others – could it – would it make a significant difference in matters claimed as a faith professed became a behavior practiced consistently? Answer – absolutely YES!
WHAT IF the hymn of our lives was in actuality: Only to be what He wants me to be, every moment of every day…Yielded to Jesus, to Jesus alone – every moment of every day – would you have a greater impact within the Church community and culture at large? Answer: Absolutely – YES! The words of the Hymn also include – “Just to be clay in the Potter’s hands, ready to do what His will commands…” Is that what you are ready and willing to have as the consistent reality in your life? How do you accomplish this result? The Hymn Writer stated it clearly; “All to Jesus I surrender; Humbly at His feet I bow, Worldly pleasures all forsaken; Take me, Jesus, take me now. I surrender ALL…”
Prayerfully – consider these things with me.