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How would you describe public discourse these days? Would you say it included bitterness? I see some. Many people have been victims of injustice. Some of them cling to bitterness.
How about rage and anger? Does that sound like some protests you’ve seen lately? People screaming abuse. In mid-July, I drove through a small town in the middle of nowhere. As I drove by, half a dozen protesters waved vile signs in protest of a government action.
Certainly, you’d say public discourse involved brawling and slander, especially the exchanges between political opponents. They’re always attacking each other verbally.
But would you say public discourse is filled with malice? Malice is a powerful word. Dictionary.com defines it as “the desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another.” Ok, yes, we have some malice in public discourse today, don’t we? Some hurl words or objects trying to hurt others.
But this should not describe the attitudes of Jesus’ followers. In fact, Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)
Our standard for public discourse must not be the rage, slander and malice we see around us. We can’t throw it back when it’s hurled our way. Our attitude must be the compassion, kindness and forgiveness that Jesus has given to us.
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.