Dear Grace Family,
Is it just me, or does it feel like we, as a society, are getting more and more short-tempered or divisive? That is a bit of a rhetorical question because we have been trending that way for decades. I do not have a reason for why I am thinking about this topic today, but I am. We have always had an innate drive to ‘be right,' mainly, I believe, due to our sinful nature. But it just feels like things are worse than they have ever been. What happened to kindness?
You do not have to search very hard to find examples of our ever-increasing divisiveness. Turn on one of our 24-hour news networks and most of the talking heads are slamming people they disagree with and not always intelligently, but simply because it gets eyeballs, or ratings. Turn on talk radio, same thing. Read a newspaper (do people still do this?) and I am guessing it is the same. Advertisers use the same paradigm. Instead of touting or promoting their own product, simply telling you how bad their competitors are has become all too common. And, as a sports fan, it saddens me that this divisiveness has crept into sports on many levels. I recently heard on the radio that fights break out at almost ever live sporting event in the stands between fans of competing teams. What has happened to civility?
I have also noticed that the always ‘getting my way’ expectation out and about in public places like retail, restaurants, coffee shops and just about every other retail outlet. Something that happens to me regularly when something has gone wrong with something I purchased and I am trying to get it corrected or a customer service representative puts me on hold, the customer service rep apologizes to me profusely! I do not mind a polite, “I am sorry for…" - I actually appreciate that - but the repeating it over and over again, to me, is an indication that they are regularly being treated rudely by so many people that they expect me to curse them out unless they shower me with apologies. Things do not always go perfectly. When did we lose that perspective?
I do not mean to sound like the grumpy old ‘get off my lawn’ guy, or the ‘things were much back in my day’ guy. I do have a point, I think…I think it is becoming increasingly more difficult to treat people with respect and extend grace to folks because we are bombarded with ‘I am right, you are wrong!’ all the time. I simply want to remind you all, and remind myself!, that we are called to a higher standard. It is a reminder of the Great Commandment to love God and others.
Jesus said they are the only two commandments that really matter. He basically summed up the 10 Commandments and the entirety of the Law with those two things. And the two are inseparable. If one love God, one must one’s neighbor. We are called to be salt and light. It is pretty simple but getting harder and harder these days. We all need to promote kindness and civility and not lose perspective on how blessed we are. It really is the right thing to do!
Yours in Christ,