About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Among The Civilized
"civility" has been in the news of late.
It has become obvious to me, especially in
"civility" means to act and speak in a polite or courteous
manner. The New Testament has
much to say about acting, speaking, and living in a civilized manner.
Titus 1:6 says
overseer manages Godís household, he must be blameless ó not
overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent,
not pursuing dishonest gain."
Titus 2:2 to 6 reads:
older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound
in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise,
teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be
slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then
they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be
self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be
subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly,
encourage the young men to be self-controlled."
Ephesians 4:2 says
completely humble and gentle; be patient,
bearing with one another in love."
Note the words that
express civility in the above passages.
They are: not overbearing, not quick-tempered, self-controlled,
temperate, humble, gentle, reverent, not slanderous, and patient.
These godly character qualities are fading into extinction, and
Our present trend
towards rudeness in the western world is in direct relation to our
culture's rejection of the Biblical consensus that once restrained
incivility. It should not,
then, surprise us that the once Biblical influenced West is becoming
uncivilized, even backsliding towards a past paganism that dominated
ancient civilizations centuries ago, but again, that should be no
surprise us, and even irritate us, is that many Christians are
incorporating an incivility into their way of life, especially their
speech, as seen in their Tweets and comments on Facebook. The
Bible, by which we claim to live, says this should never be.
1 Peter 3:10 says
would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and
their lips from deceitful speech."
Titus 2:7 and 8
everything set them an example by doing what is good. In
your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that
cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because
they have nothing bad to say about us."
As the above
passage implies, there are those who oppose us as Christians.
Any incivility of speech on our part will brand us as being
hypocritical and will damage our credibility as Christians.
Imitating our uncivilized surroundings destroys the reason for our
existence. It disables us from
being the effective representatives of Jesus we are called to be, but
maybe that is to be expected.
I do not know how
close we are to the end of this age, but 2 Timothy 3:1 to 5 predicts
widespread incivility in the last days.
"But mark this: There
will be terrible times in the last day.
will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive,
disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without
love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of
the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than
lovers of God ó having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have
nothing to do with such people."
All of the above
passages, and others like them, make it clear.
As Christians, we are called to be a Biblically civil
countercultural community. We are to reflect the very essence of Jesus in
our lives, something that is foreign to our western world.
When we lose our countercultural distinctiveness by imitating those
we are to influence, we fail to be that which we were called to be.
The Word of the Lord is clear.
"'Come out from among them and be separate,' says the Lord"
(2 Corinthians 6:18).