Our theme for this month: “Changing the tone of the conversation”
Our Bible verse for today: “Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another; just as God also forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:31-32 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “You go first.”
It’s not my intention to get political this morning. I also don’t intend to take sides in any political skirmish. But when it comes to “changing the tone of the conversation” in our society, the place that needs it the most is Washington, D.C. The tone in Washington sets the tone for the rest of the nation. And that’s the problem. A political commentator recently said, “I don’t believe there has been this much anger and division in our nation since just prior to the Civil War”. I think he might be right.
There’s a raging argument about who’s to blame. Many people say it is President Trump’s fault. One person said, “It’s like having Bart Simpson in the White House!” Those people claim that Donald Trump is obnoxious, egotistical, and mean-spirited. They claim that he shows no restraint, no grace, and no ability to forgive. Supporters of the President claim that he simply will not be a verbal punching bag for anyone, and when he is attacked he punches back twice as hard. The opponents of the President say he starts it. His supporters say he is just defending himself. And on and on it goes.
Personally I don’t care who started it, it just needs to stop. And somebody needs to go first. Somebody needs to decide, “I will be the gracious one. I will be dignified and show restraint. I will take the steps necessary to change the tone and to cool things down.”
What’s true in Washington D.C. is also true in our own lives. As the followers of Jesus we should be the adults in the room. We should be the ones who have the dignity, the grace, and the restraint needed to stay calm and not get angry. We should be the ones who take the steps necessary to cool things down rather than being the ones who further inflame the situation.
In Ephesians 4:31-32 the Apostle Paul reminds us that bitterness, anger, wrath, shouting, slander, and malice should not be evident among us. That’s true whether we’re interacting with other Christians or with the world in general.
Ideally we would like to see a good example being set for us by our leaders so that the change can begin at the top and work its way down into the rest of society. Unfortunately, I suspect it will probably have to be the other way around. It will have to be a grassroots effort that begins with you and me and works its way up to them. If we don’t behave badly, and if we insist that they don’t either, then maybe we can get this under control.