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The Word in the World

The Word in the World – Un-civil war (1 Peter 2:1)

Today’s Reading: 1 Peter 1-2

Today’s Reflection:  1 Peter 2:1

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.

It would be impossible not to notice the way people speak to each other and speak about each other has changed dramatically over the past quarter century.  There was a time when conversation was polite and civil, even among people who disagreed.  When important topics were discussed and debated in a respectful manner.

Now what passes for conversation is often layered with sarcasm and vulgarity.  People who disagree with your point of view are to be shouted down, insulted, berated and threatened into silence rather than be allowed to present an opposing opinion.  Political opponents are no longer those with a different perspective or set of values, they are evil.  And defeating them isn’t enough, they must be destroyed.  Of course if they dare turn upon us half of the venom we unleash upon them it just serves to prove that they are every bit as evil as we thought they were.

Parents, elders and authority figures who were once highly regarded are now openly disrespected by children and youths in ways that never would have been tolerated a generation ago.  And sadly this disrespect and lack of civility has found its way into the church as well.

Today’s reflection text makes it clear that our behavior should be civil at all times, even in times of disagreement or even open conflict.  We should never give in to anger and let words of malice, lies or hypocrisy or slander enter our dialogue.  It is always possible to be agreeable with other people, even while disagreeing.  Even if they refuse to be agreeable.  More importantly, our words have power we don’t always recognize or understand.  We may feel justified in unleashing harsh words in anger but don’t necessarily know the consequence such an outburst may have.

Matthew 12:36 – I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

The power of life and death are in the tongue, but we cannot be on the side of both life and death at the same time.  We must make a choice, both with our lives and with the words we speak.

James 3:8-11 – 8) but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9) With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10) From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11) Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?

Deuteronomy 30:19 – I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

As servants of a God who sacrificed His son so we could live, we should always choose and speak words of life.

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