Pastor’s eNote: Discourse, not so civil?

Question: “How should I respond to the directive to me and others like me to go out and get in peoples’ faces and scream at them, telling them they’re not welcome and shouting them out of where they are, as a means of protest? I’m upset, too, but this isn’t my nature and it sounds counter productive. Am I too reserved or is my gut right? I want to help people not make a bad thing worse. I have to live with myself and I know how good I am at bad responses from my past. What is right?”

I received this question by email over a week ago from a very kind, very gentle person with a compassion that I can only strive for one day. Since then, I’ve prayed over and wrestled with the question asking Guidance for a response. What follows is a collection of statements written down after morning meditations. My hope is that although they may not give a clear direction to the person asking the question, maybe it’ll give her more to consider.

– (Prov 31:9) – it’s not enough to speak. The words must be the result of righteous judgement intended to defend those who cannot defend themselves.

– (Deut 1:16-17) Hear the cases. Both sides. Are we hearing both sides and taking them both into account PRIOR to judging? Or do we tend to dismiss one side out of hand? Well, we had people judge a situation without hearing any other side, so how do we point that out without appearing partial? Answer: to remember – “You shall not be PARTIAL in judgment.”
Truly impartial people are very hard to find. Yet, truth is truth. It can’t be spun. It doesn’t belong to one side or another, it simply “is”. And this is why we need not be “intimidated by anyone”. Ultimately, the judgement is God’s. It’s already done. God knows. So we’d better make sure our judgements are as close as we can get to God’s by using the methods supplied for our best measure, or delay any conclusion in the absence of enough facts. We can be okay not knowing when we remember that God does know the truth as well as who is acting in good faith and who is not. We can pray that the Spirit help us with discernment.

– (Ephesians 4:31-32) As we view Christmas in the distance and sing about sleeping in heavenly peace and peace on earth, good will to all mankind…THIS is what it takes. But can we do it? Can you really “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander” be put away, “along with all malice”? Slander? It’s as if Paul were seeing life in 2018.
It’s easier to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving at Christmas, when we are reminded about the amazing gift we have in Jesus. We don’t deserve God’s grace and mercy, yet we place requirements on others before they can receive grace and mercy from us. That’s not right. That’s not what we are told to do, over and over again, by Jesus. Why do we continue to live with this contradiction in our belief?

– (Matt 5:44) What Jesus says to do, I strive to do. This is pretty clear.

– (Prov 14:15) THIS IS IT! Prudence has a higher standard along with the intention to walk in it.

What you choose to do needs to be the result of seeking the Lord’s guidance. Proverbs 28:28 says “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.” Seek the Lord, in this and in all things. And when you do, and your heart is at peace with your judgement of how to respond, you’ll be walking in that higher standard that prudence requires.

Peace. Amen. 📖🕯️❤️