Last Sunday during prayer concerns, one of our choir members expressed dismay over the hateful discourse that is taking place in our nation concerning health care reform. I’ve seen citizens on TV screaming at each other and thought, “they are totally unable to listen while they are screaming.” Have they ever thought that they share the same concern, that is, affordable insurance and access to treatment for all? Why are they unable to reason peaceably? Resentment and distrust seem to carry the day rather than seeking a solution to an ever expanding crisis.
The reading from James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a, provides insight into this human condition: “show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom…for where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will be disorder and wickedness of every kind” (James 3:13 & 16). Name calling and slander lead only to violence.
Many of those who are cursing one another are doing so while believing they are at the same time Christian and followers of Jesus Christ. “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy” (James 3:17). We need to uphold this standard as we participate in the debate.
Jesus teaches us to love one another and to protect the weak, poor, and those who have no political power. Freedom of speech is a constitutional right, but that speach must be accompanied with respect for the opinions of others and empty of slander and hatred.
By the way, I am having a wonderful time getting to know my brothers and sisters of this congregation. Together we can grow in the love of Christ to serve our neighbor while serving God.