A Gentle Word

   I get a little ramped up when I watch a college football or basketball game on TV when I am home, especially when KU is playing. I do feel a little bad when that happens especially when Simeon is in the room. It has gotten so commonplace that now all it takes is for me to turn a game on, even before I say a word, all he has to hear is the game announcers and Simeon gets up and leaves the room. It is probably an appropriate commentary and critique of my behavior.
    I am thinking of that over the last several weeks while watching the news and reading stories of recent outbursts, interruptions, and rants by various public figures and I wonder with others if we have lost our footing in regards to civility and politeness in our country, in our world; a representative shouting out during our President’s speech, a rock star going on a rant because he disagreed with an award choice, a tennis player ranting and threatening a judge because she did not like a call.
   But it is not just in the public realm it happens in the church as well. A particular Kansas pastor who pickets the funerals of persons and families of the gay community and persons and families of our soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for our country shouting horrible horrendous words at those who have lost loved ones, or the ultimate incivility of one who walked into a church foyer and killed a doctor.
   The thought really came to the forefront when I read a passage from James this past week in preparation for Sunday morning. The Letter of James admonishes his readers to share “wisdom borne of gentleness, pure, peaceable, willing to yield, full of mercy and good works, and righteousness sown in peace for peace.”
   I look at our world and listen to the reports and I wonder where is this wisdom on the world today? Where is the voice of the gentle, the peaceable, I wonder sometimes if it is really the mean rather than the meek who will inherit the earth.
   I believe our response to incivility must be tempered with civility. In other words, particularly we who claim to follower Christ should not respond “in kind”, i.e. with incivility, but rather speaking the truth in love, our words should be tempered and couched in gentleness and humility, mindful of the child of God we are AND the child of God to whom we are speaking.
   It reminds me of that old cliché my mom used to share with me, that many a mom or dad used to share with many of us, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I tend to believe civility and politeness, love and grace, gentleness and compassion are still out there, I just wish it would get more airtime.
   I will try to do better at home so Simeon can enjoy a ballgame or two with me. I pray we all better consider the words we share and the light we shine as we journey on in our lives of faith and grace.

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