Thursday, May 11, 2006

Meditation on Luke 6:27-36

If you haven't noticed, society is a lot less civil than it used to be. I'm not one who "pines for the good old days," but things have changed for the worse.

Peter Post, an instructor on business manners for the Emily Post Institute, said that because of a number of factors in society, there are "more chances for people to be rude to each other." Almost 70% of those questioned in an Associated Press-Ipsos poll said that people today are ruder than they were twenty or thirty years ago.

Peggy Neufield, the founder and president of Personal Best, said many parents today don't stress the importance of manners or etiquette. In the Associated Press-Ipsos poll, only 13% admitted to making an obscene gesture while driving, and only 8% said they had used their cell phones in an annoying manner around other people. However, 37% said that had used a swear word in public.

While the trend is clear - society is ruder and cruder - how should we respond as followers of Jesus Christ? No matter how strong the temptation, we cannot respond in kind. It's wrong for us to "sink to the level" of the culture around us. God has called us to a higher and holier standard as we live "coram Deo" (before the face of God).

Let what Jesus said sink in: "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be like the sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6:26-37)

Not much room for obscene gestures, bad manners, or crude language is there? This is one area where we can stand out and be salt and light in our world - we need to take advantage of it. Long live civility and faithfulness for the glory of God!


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