For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:11-15
A friend is somewhat politically outspoken. OK, I correct myself: he is very politically-outspoken. Sometimes I am almost embarrassed by some of his political commentary. Just today I listened to a podcast interview of Bruce Ashford. He is politically outspoken as well. But he lamented the absence of civility in the political climate of today. His assessment is correct, I believe. Bill Bennett speaks of candor, intelligence, and good will as key to civil conversation.
It seems to me that such civility properly adorns our Christian faith. That should be especially true when it comes to our conversation with other believers. Sadly even those conversations can sometimes be incendiary. And what if we brought civility to our conversations with those with whom we disagree – even those who are not believers, and possibly even our greatest critics?
It is sad that we are targets of hatred from the world. Because of that we are accused wrongly, judged unjustly, and dismissed summarily. It is sad because not only do we suffer from such treatment, so do our detractors. For they reject the grace and truth of Jesus.
Those who have eternal life abiding in them will love their brothers and sisters in Christ, and pray for those who judge and demean us. We might even seek to project a kind and merciful demeanor to the world – which needs little encouragement to express hatred and is woefully lacking in civility.