It’s hard to know if some things are getting worse in our world or, thanks to various media, we are just more aware of how bad things have always been. I’m not referring to the horrors of war and deprivation that we hear about on the evening news. I’m thinking more about the attitude and condition of the human heart. Thanks to the internet, we have ample opportunity to see the ugly side of people.
The atmosphere in the public square appears to be very hostile and disagreeable. The way individuals refer to one another or talk about other people is horrible. Things are said online that would never be uttered in person. Sadly, I often see this behavior among Christians.
Recently, I came across Paul’s words to Titus. Titus was pastoring a young church on the island of Crete. It wasn’t an easy assignment, and Titus needed help getting the church up and running. Paul offers advice on a number of matters and then talks about how Christians should live in and interact with the world. Rather than make any observations, I’m just going to share Paul’s words and pray that we would all learn to heed them:
Remind them [Christians] to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarrelling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. (Titus 3:1-11)
We all have a lot of work to do.